Family Lifestyle Blog: Summer Picnic Ritual

Summer picnics have been a family favorite ever since our oldest daughter Neve was born in July 2011. Since she was a summer baby, and summers in New England are so short-lived (and precious), a stroll in Boston Common/Boston Public Garden followed by a picnic was our favorite way to spend our evenings with a newborn.

Now that she is older, she loves having a party with her friends. However, we still make a point to have a little family picnic for her birthday whenever we can.

Picture of my daughter at her third birthday party at the Boston Public Garden

This coming summer, the girls are psyched to go picnicking and spending relaxing evenings outdoors. We are all craving warmer weather and can’t wait until we can savor more time outside.

Packing a refreshing summer spread with the help of kids is also such a wonderful way to spend time together and make memories. We try to remember to pack board games or a deck of cards to play on the picnic blanket.

A little picnic in the park when the girls were 4 and 2

It’s always nice to enjoy a little adult time while the kids are running around entertaining themselves. A picnic can be as simple or as ‘fancy’ as you’d like it to be. The fun simply lies in tossing out that blanket and unpacking all the goodies together and spending some quality time with one another in the sunshine!

What's left of a delightful grown-ups + kids picnic

Are you as big of a fan of summer picnics as we are? What are some of your favorite picnic foods to pack?


Happy Independent Bookstore Day - April 28

Small independent bookstores are so special! I rarely get the chance to casually walk into a bookstore and peruse books anymore. Before we had kids, my husband and I loved going to Trident Booksellers to unwind after a long day at work. Some days we would grab a hot beverage and browse a book or two, and  other days we would just soak in the atmosphere and enjoy being there. I miss doing that.

This year, winter seemed never ending. A few weeks ago, after exhausting most of our go-to options for indoor activities, I wanted to find a quiet book store with a little cafe where we could enjoy an uneventful afternoon as a family, relaxing and browsing books. Seems like such a simple, doable activity but it isn’t all that easy unless intentionally planned.

My hope is that once our five-year-old starts reading more independently, the four of us can spend a couple afternoons a month at our local bookstore (especially in the winter time) and turn it into a little family ritual. Some undivided time away from technology, supporting our local community, will definitely be time well spent.

Just last week, we were away on spring break in beautiful Charleston. After long unstructured family walks exploring the city, we would find a quiet bookstore and take a short break before moving on to the next activity.  I was pleasantly surprised how well this reading ‘downtime’ worked. The girls were totally into it and the adults could enjoy some quiet time, too. My younger one (after she was done flipping pages of her books) had fun spending time by the bookshelves trying to find books for her sister while my oldest sat and read for as long as we let her. We also bought the girls a couple books to bring back as their Charleston trip souvenirs.

Visiting bookstores is also a great way to keep up with new titles and broaden your horizon simply by randomizing your reading material. I hope we can do this more often!

Do you have an independent bookstore you love visiting? I am really hoping to take the girls for Storytime at our local bookstore after soccer this Saturday in honor of Independent Bookstore Day. Hope you are able to find some great events at your local store as well. Happy reading!


Spring Cleaning + Decluttering Party

It's a tough job getting the whole family onboard for spring cleaning + decluttering. Weekends are so packed with activities/my shoots/social commitments that we rarely have any spare time. And when we finally have some time to relax, decluttering is the last thing on anyone's mind (except mine!). So I thought the only way I could get the rest of my family to participate is by making the task less aversive. I tried to turn a boring task into a somewhat attractive package - we can play music, munch on snacks, time box the activity so it feels less like a chore. I emailed this flyer to my husband and printed it out for my daughters. My older daughter quickly said "at least snacks will be served." There you go, I think I am headed in the right direction. An intentional approach by sending a 'party invite' may be the way to go. If I get more ambitious, I'll ask each family member to pick five very small projects to simplify and streamline the process.

How do you handle long procrastinated family projects when everyone's so busy even on weekends? Any tips/tricks to accomplish those tasks smoothly?


Kids fashion: Roundup of ss18 favorites from Kodomo Boston

We teamed up with our friends at Kodomo Boston to curate our favorite pieces from their SS18 collection. For this upcoming season, we blended vintage and contemporary prints with minimalist basics to strike the perfect balance. Most of these versatile pieces can be worn with solids or can be easily mixed and matched with other new or existing pieces from your wardrobe.

Being a mom of two girls, I am naturally drawn to more feminine looking outfits. However, what I Iove about some of these pieces is that both boys and girls can rock them. For more unisex, ethical and comfortable children’s fashion and outfit inspiration from independent designers, check out @kodomoboston on Instagram. Shop online or in stores at their South End and Beacon Hill locations in Boston (or their third location in Chestnut Hill starting April 9).

Summer is looking mighty chic! We can’t wait for blue skies and lots of sunshine to enjoy our summer wardrobes.


Starting a Book Club for kids

We have always enjoyed reading to our girls and have also encouraged them to read on their own. Our older (now 6.5) has been reading independently since a year and a half ago and has really taken a liking to it! To keep her interest going and to make reading a fun, social activity, we had the idea to start a little Book Club for the girls last year. To kick it off, I asked five other kindergarten families (basically my daughter’s friends) to join and we created this club for them. How fun!

We’ve had a total of seven meetings so far. We pick a book for each month and also bring a couple of our favorites to read during the meeting. Initially, one of us moms would read aloud to the girls. However, now that the girls are in first grade and becoming confident readers, it’s a pure delight to watch them read and take control! It also gives us moms a reason to catch up and share a beverage! This is a monthly ritual we really enjoy and look forward to.

Some of the books we’ve read so far (monthly picks + during meetings):

We don’t really have a set criteria for selecting books. I generally look for off-beat themes that encourage creative thinking and have a good underlying message. Amazon reviews and  recommendations from friends always come in handy. So far these book choices have been great; Virginia Wolf and The Night Gardener are my personal favorites.

We had a discussion at our last meeting about theme-based Book Club meetings. Our current theme is ‘space’ and we just finished reading this amazing inspirational book Hidden Figures recommended by one of our Book Club friends. Some potential themes could be pets, travel, and so on. There can be endless options and the books for that month would be geared towards these topics.

We look forward to continuing this tradition and widening our book selections. What are your or your kids’ favorite books? Where do you get book recommendations from?

If your child is 6-8 years old and would like to virtually join our Book Club, I would be delighted to share our monthly book choice. Just send me a message and jump in on the fun! : )

P.S. On keeping a reading log!