Dear Coffee: I Love You

As if I needed another reason to indulge in my daily coffee habit, a new study indicates that coffee drinking is not only safe for most of us, but it also has potentially protective effects against heart disease, liver cancer, and other illnesses. The study concluded that, compared with abstaining from coffee entirely, drinking three to four cups daily is associated with lower health risks.

Medical studies aside, I’ve long had my own reasons for loving coffee.Read More

Facing the Post-Holiday Crabfest

The holidays are pretty awesome. We get to unplug from the daily grind and reconnect with family and friends, and everyone is generally in a merry mood. We indulge in favorite foods and sweets – for me, that means my aunt’s cookies and my dad’s Thanksgiving stuffing. Festive music is piping in the background, someone is uncorking another bottle of red wine, the kids are entertaining each other nicely amidst the happy chaos, and everyone looks adorable in their reindeer and snowman sweaters.… Read More

80s Films That Could Rock Your Next Family Movie Night

Earlier this month, as temperatures dipped into the teens and tiny snowflakes swirled outside my window, I had to admit the sad truth: Summer is officially over. But when it’s too cold to enjoy the outdoors, there’s something magical about curling up under some cozy blankets with a good movie. Like so many kids in the 1980s, I grew up watching the Star Wars trilogy, so it was only a matter of time before I introduced my children to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo.… Read More

Grand Memories

My grandmother with my brother and me in 1982

With the holidays approaching, many of us are getting ready to visit relatives. For some, this means packing our bags and hopping on a plane; for others, it means hopping in the car and driving across town.

My parents both came from the Chicago area and moved to California shortly after getting married. This was a bold move at the time; my mom’s father, in particular, warned them about navigating “that treacherous highway.” When I was growing up, visiting my grandparents in Illinois was a special event.… Read More

Bees, Bucks, and Mindfulness

November has ushered in unseasonably chilly temperatures, prompting me to retire some of our outdoor plants sooner than expected. Yesterday, I was surprised to see a solitary bumblebee grazing on the few flowers that are still hanging on for dear life on our porch. I think that, like me, he didn’t want to admit that summer is really gone.

I watched the bee for a moment, worried he might be lonely.… Read More

The Anxious Generation

How is parenting today different than it was a few decades ago? A thought-provoking article, “The Fragile Generation,” recently popped up in my parents’ group on Facebook, and it offered some disturbing examples of how overprotective parenting is negatively impacting kids. Modern children are far too sheltered, the article argues, and are missing critical opportunities to build independence, resilience, and problem-solving skills through “free play.” After-school activities like biking around the neighborhood or playing at the park have largely been replaced by structured, adult-supervised activities: team sports practices, dance or piano lessons.… Read More

Fox Cities Half Marathon Recap

The sun was just peeking over the horizon this past Sunday morning as I lined up with 2,000 other runners at the Fox Cities Half Marathon. Also at the start line were roughly 450 runners who were brave (or insane) enough to complete the full marathon distance.

Anyone who’s been within earshot of me over the past couple of weeks likely heard me agonize over the fact that the weather for this race was going to be unseasonably warm and humid.Read More

Is Summer Really Ending?

It’s hard to believe, but school starts this week. On the surface, I think we’re ready. Pencils and glue sticks are packed, teacher and bus assignments are confirmed and both of my kids are proudly sporting new haircuts.

The anticipation of a fresh school year feels bittersweet. This summer, there were plenty of days when my energetic children drove me up the proverbial wall. Like the times I would attempt some awesome craft or activity and fail miserably, only to hear my kids complain, “We’re bored!Read More

Fun at the Tosa Farmers Market

When those long-awaited summer days finally arrive, one of my favorite kid-friendly excursions is a visit to a local farmers market. This weekend, we checked out the Tosa Farmers Market (open Saturdays from 8 AM – 12 PM, June 3 – Oct. 14) for the first time. The market’s main attraction is fresh seasonal produce, of course, but visitors can also find yummy cheeses, homemade jams, sausages and other specialty items.… Read More

Hunting for Harry Potter in New York City

Last weekend, our family traveled to New York City to visit my brother and take in some of the touristy highlights. No trip to NYC would be complete without a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but we knew it might be a challenge to keep our daughters (six and eight years old) focused and interested enough to really appreciate the exhibits.

Our kids have really gotten into Harry Potter lately, so we were tickled pink to learn about a tour called “Griffins, Goblets and Gold” at the Met.… Read More