6 Truths About Helicopter Parents

My parenting style can be best described as a hybrid mashup—a combination of authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. But if one parenting style was to surface and all others sink, at the end of the day I would emerge a predominantly helicopter parent. The term "helicopter parenting" was coined back in 1990 by child development researchers Foster Cline and Jim Fay in their book, Parenting With Love and Logic. Helicopter parents, according to the official definition, take an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of Read more

How to Plan the Ultimate Staycation

Who wouldn’t want to take a vacation every month, or even every weekend? Unfortunately for most, there isn’t room for a trip in the schedule—or budget. Plus, as most holiday vacations prove, it can be exhausting and overwhelming to coordinate a family trip out of town. That’s why many people in need of a small getaway take staycations instead. Staycations allow you to relax and do fun activities with your family, all without the expense of travel or booking Read more

Top of the Tingles: The ASMR A-List

Relaxation. Euphoria. Tingling. These are the words used to describe the result of an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, or ASMR, trigger. In a piece I recently wrote for Sanity & Self, I describe the concept as "the physical response to auditory, visual, or tactile triggers, usually a tingly sensation similar to feeling chills. Think of the goosebumps you might get when someone whispers into your ear. That’s ASMR. Most experts attribute ASMR’s relaxing sensations to the release of endorphins, Read more

Self-Discovery Questions to Ask Yourself Each Day

In today’s uber-connected world, it’s so easy to get caught up in your phone wherever you go. Whether you're responding to work emails, organizing your kids’ schedules, or updating your Instagram, the hours can fly by before you know it. While this is certainly convenient, it can become unhealthy if it turns into a habit. Because we’re all so busy, your mental health could be suffering and you wouldn’t even know it because you’re too preoccupied to pay attention Read more

Self-Care With Hygge

Taking time for yourself as a mom can be difficult between appointments, errands and keeping everyone fed, on time and in clean clothes. Finding ways to fit in self-care and moments to yourself are so important, even short breaks can have a positive impact on your day. One shortcut to make sure you get the change to recharge is make your house ready for relaxation whenever you are. You may have heard of it as an emerging decor trend, hygge Read more

I Would Never Do THAT

Posted on by Crystal in Parenting | 18 Comments

I Would Never Do THAT

Over the weekend, my husband and I watched the infamous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on one of those sports channels that doesn’t see much love unless my better half is around. (Here I am thinking that eating was only a competitive sport when you make ONE box of macaroni and cheese and dish it out in two bowls, at which point two children cagefight over which bowl has more noodles and who gets the biggest helping.)

As the contestants were introduced, the screen revealed their individual world records. A few caused my gagging reflex to come to life. One very voluptuous dude held the record for eating twenty-four dozen oysters. Another was King of shoving pounds of octopus down his throathole. Apparently, gluttony has no limits. This set off a firestorm of “I wouldn’t eat that or that.” Which somehow led to “I wouldn’t do that or that.” Which revealed some key differences between men and women (and how incredibly stupid we are sometimes) … Read more

The Confessional: I Was Once a Cathotant

Posted on by Crystal in Parenting | 11 Comments

the cross shining through the gleaming sun!

I grew up in a household that was split down the middle on religion. My grandmother was old-school Protestant, while my mother was a devout Catholic. This made things both interesting and confusing, but mostly confusing–for me. I was baptized and christened. Went to Sunday School and catechesis. Attended services in a cathedral and also a small corner church. I received Communion and didn’t receive Communion as it was “ever-present.” Confused? Well that was me, the once “Cathotant.” Read more

Things My Grandmother Used to Say…

Posted on by Crystal in Lifestyle, Parenting | 7 Comments


As many of you know, my grandmother had a big hand in raising me and was a woman I both admired and loved deeply. She was strong, independent, and full of fire, yet at the same time, had the biggest heart and would give the shirt off her back to help others. All the neighborhood kids loved to visit, especially when she was in a baking frenzy or when she had finished so carefully knitting dozens of various colored mittens. She kept us all fed and warm! Read more

Happy Blogiversary! It’s Been a Year!

Posted on by Crystal in Parenting | 45 Comments

happy blogiversary

“My first post went live on July 1, 2012, two days after I fuddled endlessly with a theme and getting things all set up on WordPress. I remember that day vividly, because I was filled with excitement, yet so terrified at the same time. Unlike blogging to generate awareness of a product or brand, I was jumping into blogging mainly because I needed and craved an outlet.”

That’s a quote from yours truly, four months after I started my blog. A year later, here we are. And what a year it has been! Read more

Memorial Day Memories

Posted on by Crystal in Parenting | 6 Comments

memorial day memories

Growing up, Memorial Day was a big deal in my family. It marked the start of nice weather in Maine and meant the celebration of those we had lost over the years. In a cemetery just a few miles from my childhood home, many of my immediate and distant family members were laid to rest. This was our primary destination on this day in May. The ritual was always the same. We’d wake up early and head over to the local nursery where we would buy a variety of hardy plants and flowers – a few perennials and an abundance of annuals; the entire trunk a colorful display of life. From there, it was back to the house to fill ten or so empty gallon milk jugs with water and grab the necessary tools to get the job done. I never understood why we did things in this order. It seemed backwards to me. The flowers and plants would sit in the warm trunk for upwards of an hour while we gathered the rest of the supplies. It would have made more sense to get the flowers after this process, but I was young and excited to help. My opinion was null and void. Read more

The Rise of Walk-Away Moms

Posted on by Crystal in Parenting | 19 Comments


Have you ever had one of those days when you just felt like leaving? Running away from everything – kids, husband, partner, housework, cooking, job, cleaning, pets…everything. I sometimes have moments of fight or flight, moments when I look at everyone and everything around me and think, WTF? Do I stand there and keep pushing through? Or do I run for the hills, never to look back? The thoughts of running last only seconds before I’m back taking care of business, but that’s not always the case with women, especially those with children. In fact, recent studies have shown that the number of moms who are running away from it all, now dubbed walk-away moms, is on the rise. It’s a scary trend, but if we take take a moment and step back, I think it’s a reality we can all relate to on some level. We’ve all wanted to run away. If you’re a mom and you’re shaking your head “No way! Not me!”, your nose is growing like Pinocchio. Read more

Never Driving YOUR Car Again

Posted on by Crystal in Parenting | 10 Comments

driving your car

We’re finally a two-vehicle household! Thank gawd! Since Pontilicious now works away from home, it’s been rough being stranded all day. This past weekend I finally got to drive the newest member of the family, a Chrysler 300.

PONTILICIOUS: Are you sure you can drive this?

ME: I’ve been driving for almost 25 years, I think I can handle this car. Plus it’s just an automatic. Any dummy can drive an automatic.

(backing out of parking space – get dangerously close to another car)

PONTILICIOUS: OMG! You’re driving this like you would the Hummer. You can’t turn like that. Read more

Kids on Spring Break? Enjoy Activities Close to Home!

Posted on by Crystal in Parenting | 4 Comments

Summer's end in NYC, Sep 2009 - 13

So the kids are on spring break and that means getting a whole week to spend with them as a family. Great news, right?

Ugh. Except that you don’t have any plans. What are you going to do with all that time?

Figure it like this. They’re in school five days a week. A typical day is six to eight hours. Let’s say six. That’s 30 hours PLUS the usual time that you would be spending with them anyways. You know how children between the ages of five and twelve are…wonderful little balls of energy. OK, let’s just leave it at balls of energy.

With the economy in recession, gas prices through the ceiling and the bills to pay, who has the money for a real vacation? So the kids are on spring break… why not stay close to home? Read more