A good book is the cure to all ills in the world, I genuinely believe that. I’m always reading something, and since I discovered Overdrive, an app that lets you check out books through your local library, but online, my world has opened right on up. With my Kindle I’m listening to between 3-5 books a week and it’s the very best. I’m listening to / reading all the awesome books I haven’t had time to read over the last several years and the best part is I get to “read” while I do all the boring, mundane things in life. Like laundry and dishes, and while I make dinner every night. Now I not only look forward to doing chores, I knock out two birds with one stone. Everyone wins, especially me.
When I started plowing through several books a week, I started a blog post with approximately one hundred and one million books to recommend. But the thing is, I’m reading so many books the list now has too many books on it, and it’s always growing. So I thought, what if we started a virtual book club, where I share my … >> find out more...
Halloween is coming! Are you ready to get your DIY on? It’s time to bust out those pumpkins, costumes, treats and all things spooky and sweet. We’ve put some of our favorite Halloween DIY projects in one place, so read on for some great projects and crafts to do with your family this month–all of them simple and totally fun!
1. 3 Crazy Easy DIY Halloween Costumes
Looking for some super easy costume ideas for your kiddos? You’ll LOVE these three! They are gender neutral, fun, and adorable.
2. Halloween Treat Bags
Spooky little ghost bags filled with yummy treats! The cutest. Just right for class parties or delivering Halloween treats and prizes to friends.
3. Orange Pumpkin Craft
Turn little oranges into cute jack-o-lanterns with this pumpkin craft! It’s super easy, and your family will love seeing these little guys on the dinner table.
4. Easy Ghost Suckers
This is the best craft for your kiddos to do all on their own, and one that’s been making the rounds for generations. Makes for a sweet treat too!
5. Silver Pumpkin DIY
Isn’t it amazing what a little spray paint can do? Transform your pumpkins into fancy home decor that can be enjoyed right … >> find out more...
My oldest turned thirteen this year. As a parent, my boy entering the teen years felt huge. I mean, how did my baby get to thirteen so fast? I know. I know. It’s cliche jargon, but I have to say it.
My husband and I decided his rite of passage to the teen years would be a special trip, just him and dad. “Where would you like to go?” we asked him. “Thailand,” was his response. Perhaps his desire to go there was fueled by the fact that he was made in Thailand, or perhaps because his cousins live there. Whatever the reason, we were surprised by it. “We were thinking somewhere in country,” we politely told him.
It was a beautiful moment, realizing that my boy saw the world as his oyster. He didn’t get to go to Thailand, but I loved where his dreams took him.
I’ll admit. It’s easy for my kids to think about travel, because we do it often. We hop across oceans like it’s no big deal. I still remember about five years ago, when my daughter was in kindergarten and my son was in third grade. They came home incredulous that there … >> find out more...
Learning how to clean cast iron seemed like a daunting task for me before I knew all the hoodoo-voodoo tricks, but I have to be honest: it’s one of the easiest things in the world to clean. Especially if you do it my way, which only uses TWO ingredients, both of them natural!
Gotta love that.
We have two major pieces of cast iron in my house: a cast iron skillet we use every day, and a cast iron wood burning stove. The skillet is no big deal because we use it often enough it doesn’t rust, and when we do need to clean it we just heat it up, add olive oil and wipe it off with a cloth.
The cast iron stove on the other hand, is a bit of an endeavor. Poor, rusted out cast iron stove. Luckily it doesn’t need to be cleaned very often and I usually have the cleaning ingredients on hand. The roof above the chimney leaks so the stove ends up rusting pretty badly on top. It’s no bueno, but easy to fix!
Are you ready to learn how to do this? Get ready, it’s awesome.
2 Ingredient Cast … >> find out more...
As a family we really enjoyed downtown Boston. While we adore San Francisco, and New York, we love Boston because of how clean and open the city feels. The North End of Boston with the ocean breezes is absolutely lovely. While San Francisco can feel overwhelming and crowded, and New York can feel stifling and slightly smelly, we didn’t find that in Boston. Granted, we weren’t in Boston during the winter, I don’t think we would’ve survived if we tried winter on the East Coast.
Walk around the North End and enjoy the breezes. You’ll also find Paul Revere’s house. In fact, find and follow the Freedom Trail. Look for the red bricks, or grab a visitor’s guide at the visitor center at the Boston Common. Everyone was telling me to do the trail, but I had no idea where to start. Going to the visitor center is super helpful.
While you’re in Boston Common, look for the “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture, which is one of Boston’s most famous attractions. The statues are of Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings. The sculpture is based on the 1942 Caldecott Medal winning picture book by Robert McCloskey.
The … >> find out more...
// This post is sponsored by Chegg Tutors. All the grumpy opinions about homework, and uncharitable comments about math in particular, belong to me. So do the frustrated children. Thank you as always, for being kind to the sponsors that help maintain Petit Elefant. //
Homework is universally loathed, isn’t it? The word itself is rough enough, but when you add the actual implications of a load of very real school work to do at home, homework can be just a little bit too much to handle.
In fact, since school started for my kids a few weeks ago, our nights have been full to the brim with school assignments and hours of homework. And the thing is, my kids aren’t the only ones dreading school nights. My husband and I are up to our necks in explaining math concepts we haven’t practiced for 20+ years, on top of physics, spelling, book reports, you name it.
We’re all tired. All of us loathe the after-dinner routine of sitting down at the kitchen counter or the computer to hammer out several hours of hair-pulling assignments, most of which the grownups in the room don’t know how to explain.
So a … >> find out more...
This month’s Netflix must see is . . . Narcos. OH MY GOSH. Are you watching? Have you gotten a Netflix subscription yet? I hope so, because every month we have so many of the shows to talk about. So many.
The first month of this (relatively new) ‘What to watch on Netflix‘ monthly series, we talked about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Go watch it immediately if you haven’t already. Tina Fey can be my girl boss / best friend / producer any time she wants. (Call me, Tina!)
The next must see was Rosewater, then Luther (hold me, Idris Elba!), then To Kill A Mockingbird, and this month: Narcos.
I was only one episode deep into Narcos when I wholeheartedly recommended it to you, and I have to add some qualifiers now that I’m onto episode 5. Narcos is SUPER violent, and sexually explicit. Episode 1 was just an appetizer so I felt like we were cool. The show is based on the true story of a horrifying human so I should’ve figured it would get more violent but I couldn’t’ve predicted how much. So, just an FYI, so you aren’t … >> find out more...
It’s quote of the week time! If you’re just joining us, once a week I’m doing a quote of the week to inspire me and whomever else needs it. Something that speaks to me in particular for that week, something I think maybe everyone else needs to hear. This week’s Quote of the Week is from one of my favorite smart funny girls, Amy Poehler. I just finished reading her book, ‘Yes, Please’ and there were so many good quotable nuggets in there, but this one is my favorite.
Petit Elefant Quote of the Week
Sleep helps you
I think this one really speaks for itself. Not a lot of embellishment needed.
Gosh, I love Amy Poehler.
If you’re just starting with this Quote of the Week series, or need to catch up, here are all the weeks so far:
… >> find out more...
I read this great article last week about parenting teenagers and part of what’s so hard about it, and it totally resonated with me. You should go read it right now, whether you’re the parent of a teenager or are even remotely close to the edge of this particular minefield of parenting. It’s a great piece. And it’s part of a greater whole of the conversation I seem to be having with everyone I know, and plenty of people I don’t. I’ve written a fair amount about motherhood (and parenthood in general) on Petit Elefant, and the things I’m figuring out along the way, but the teenage years are a whole other bag.
See, here’s the thing: when you parent a baby, or a toddler, or young child there are rule books aplenty. Entire doctoral dissertations are written about the different parenting styles, ad nauseum; attachment parenting, free-range, baby-wise. But once you get to a certain stage of parenting life, you have to let it all go. None of the styles really matter anyway because your little human will establish himself, (or herself) with or without your help, thankyouverymuch. None of the books matter, (spoiler alert: they didn’t matter … >> find out more...