kid crafts & parenting


I recently returned from a trip back to New York. We arrived in Queens, amid the usual insane driving and traffic, loud noises and … well, it’s New York. I had just completed a big design project and needed some down time. But I couldn’t relax. I took work calls and dealt with client issues. I seethed about the road and hated on the people. I was trying to have fun, but finding it challenging.

After a few days in the city, our plan was to go to the Catskills to Boy Scout family camp, a tradition started when my man was a boy himself that we continued with our own family during our fours years living in New York City.

Mushroom at Boy Scout Family Camp

Family camp is located on Lake Nianque, about two hours northwest of New York City. It houses about 20 rustic cabins that families rent for a week or more during the summer. Many families have been going the same week every year for decades. The waterfront is run in traditional Boy Scout fashion: everyone takes a swim test, gets a buddy tag, and must always swim or boat with a buddy during designated swimming and boating hours. While this might sound like a draconian system, it feels the opposite. With structure comes freedom. I glimpsed the kids sporadically on their way to and from whatever they were doing—sometimes carrying towels, sometimes with nets for catching critters—but I never worried.

Buddy Board at Boy Scout Family Camp

There is no cell phone service at Family Camp: no email, no voicemail, not even texts. Unconnected in nature feels like paradise. I finally relaxed.

We canoed the Delaware River. All without thoughts of email, instagram, and snapchat. I couldn’t even check the weather. (Turns out, if you go outside you can pretty much figure out what the weather is like.) We fished. We swam. I napped. Sure, the kids spent time in their bunks playing games on their iPods. But without internet their attention turned to other things and they were soon back outside catching frogs, newts, snakes and turtles. Or fishing. Or swimming. All good stuff.

Fishing on Lake Nianque at Boy Scout Family Camp

Worm on a hook

Catching bass on Lake Nianque

I missed the news headlines, and the latest national shooting tragedy. I’m sure there will be another and I’ll read all about it in my news feed. For now, I’m trying to hold onto that relaxed feeling that there is nothing for me to do. Boredom is a rare luxury in the information age.

Dusk on Lake Nianque at Boy Scout Family Camp

Below are several interesting perspectives on unplugging:

7 Important Reasons to Unplug and Find Space

Kids on Screen-Time Diet Lost Weight and Got Better Grades

The Pointlessness of Unplugging

Why Everyone Should Unplug More Often

Limiting screen time improves sleep, academics and behavior, ISU study finds


egg shell herb starts

While it has been a warm winter and early spring out west, in the northeast we’ve suffered a cold, long winter. But the sun is finally shining and the birds are singing their sweet songs. Hello, Spring! Now that temps are consistently above 40 degrees and the fear of frost is over, it’s time to {READ MORE}

easter egg tree

Happy Easter! I made glitter eggs in anticipation of the Easter holiday. I considered the best way to display these sparkly puppies… a cylindrical glass vase or a low-rimmed bowl would work. But I was inspired by a friend’s “egg tree” and decided that was definitely the way to go. If you’re hanging around feeling jittery after eating your kid’s {READ MORE}

glitter easter eggs

Our Easter tradition is to visit my family in California. Northern California is spectacular in the spring. The verdant hills glow with new growth and smell like luscious damp dew in the mornings. The temperature (low 70s) feels perfect. And I don’t have to cook anything while there except egg salad for Easter lunch. Yum! My girls and I haven’t {READ MORE}


“They want to eat pizza,” my man calls after a session at the batting cage with the girls. “They are begging me.” “Go ahead.” I tell him. “I’m totally nesting and shit.” What is it, this nesting? For me, it’s finding, collecting, creating and adding shiny and lovely things to my nest. Rearranging, and making everything neat and {READ MORE}

copper foiled watercolor easter eggs

When I began this Easter egg project I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Initially, I considered creating pattens with the copper leaf on the eggs by taping off a design and then removing the tape after foiling, thereby revealing the pattern in the white shell underneath. But applying metallic foil is delicate work, {READ MORE}

babying the big girls

While one of my children has never been seriously injured, the other one has been to the emergency room many times. We could talk about the iniquity of it all, but life is just like that: unfair. Our latest visit to the ER was for a nasty radius fracture—the result of a poorly-executed backbend walkover. {READ MORE}

homework help

Afternoons are homework time again. Listening to the woes of my friends with older kids reaffirms my own resolve not to take personal responsibility for my children’s school work. I know that I don’t want to battle with my kids over doing their homework. Or worse yet, do their homework for them. (Seriously, this happens—and {READ MORE}

crowned princess

ever since my girls were small, my mom (aka “mana”) has been making paper crowns for their birthdays. she makes one each year for my niece, too. by now she has created a dozen or so different crowns and is something of an expert in paper crown making. it has become a tradition to receive and wear {READ MORE}

valentine’s day cupcakes for your sweetheart

recently i was daydreaming about frosting and how beautiful it is when the food coloring is mixing in, before it’s fully incorporated. i wanted to try to recreate that as a finished look. so i made some valentine-themed cupcakes to bring to a dinner party. this year i have been into sweethearts as a source of creative inspiration. {READ MORE}