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I found myself yelling at my husband the other day over an $8 purchase of clothing from the Salvation Army. I know what you’re thinking, crazy, right? You’re right it was a bit crazy, till I realized what was really going on with me. I was suffering from a brutal case of Single Income Syndrome (SIS). This is the part of being a SAHM that still gets to me after three years. This is the thing I struggle with daily.


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Symptoms Include…

Symptoms include feelings of guilt about spending money on oneself, overzealous budgeting, worrying about money more than once a day, irritability with your partner’s spending habits, and stress about paying bills. Three years ago, I would have said kudos to my husband for shopping at the Salvation Army instead of the mall. I have taught him many of my frugal ways and I’m grateful for that, but his impulse purchases keep slowly tapping our resources. I realized we have a problem with our “deserve” spending. He feels he deserves clothes or pricey lunches just because he’s earned it. I, on the other hand, never really feel like I deserve to spend money on myself because I haven’t earned it.

From Joint To Full Custody

We started with the “his, mine, and ours” system where we each paid certain bills and split others. When I started staying home, I lost my income and gained full custody of the bills. It forced an intimacy between me and our finances I hadn’t had before and my husband handed over his share of the responsibility and never looked back. I had to stop my Single Income Syndrome (SIS) from causing a major rift in my marriage. So here are some of the things I need to recognize in order to combat my SIS and I hope they help others as well.

1. There Is Only “Our” Paychecks Now – While I still struggle with the fact that I don’t bring in equal share of our income, I need to remind myself that his paycheck is in fact OUR paycheck. While I’m not punching a time clock and my name isn’t on his pay stub, all my work at home allows him to do his job to the best of his ability. Case in point, he just recently got a promotion. Would he still have gotten it if I was working? Maybe, but the fact that he had me covering the childcare so he could spend extra hours preparing for his trainings, volunteering on work committees or taking out of town business trips certainly didn’t hurt.

2. There Is Only “Our Debt” As Well – Living separate financial lives until I became a SAHM let us acquire separate debt as well. Becoming a single income family meant that we changed the way we viewed our individual debt as well. It was an eye opening experience. We have been diligently working on it and have paid of $15,000 in debt in the three years we’ve been living off of one income. It is my hope that by next year we will be debt free except for our house. I know some people would be concerned about sharing responsibility for your partner’s debt, but in all the years we were going it alone we have NEVER made anywhere near the progress we’ve made tackling it together. I figured we had two choices – get mad and throw our hands up or say “alright, let’s get busy fixing it” and that’s just what we did. It takes a lot of trust to do this.

3. Get On The Same Page – My husband’s “I don’t want to know” approach to our bills simply isn’t working anymore. I asked for his help. I need him to know where our money is going without me having to tell him. It’s my hope that if he sees it with his own eyes, I won’t feel ALL the pressure of making sure our bills are paid and we have enough money between paychecks.

4. No Room For Guilt – I have to stop feeling guilty every time I need to buy something for myself. Guilt is keeping me from being truly happy about staying at home; a choice I have been very happy with otherwise.

So I’m throwing guilt overboard, handing my husband a paddle, and we’re going to start rowing this family’s finances together. There are no lesser roles.The 20 something feminist in me will just have to shut up. She didn’t know anything about raising a family. I’m no less of a woman, mother or wife for not bringing in a paycheck. We all make our own choices and I choose this life every single day.

Have you ever suffered from Single Income Syndrome? How do you cope?

I don’t think my Italian grandma would approve, but I decided to try Gluten Free on a Shoestring’s Slow Cooker meatball recipe. Growing up, meatballs were lovingly fried on the stove, then simmered for three hours in a large pot full of Grandma’s “gravy” (homemade pasta sauce). Three hours of cooking could almost qualify as slow-cooked, but the family recipe predates crockpots for sure. When I was in grad-school, my grandma passed her recipe down to me, which we eventually updated so that the meatballs could be baked instead of fried. It’s quicker, it’s healthier, and I can make double or triple batches to freeze. However, sometimes you’re going to be out for the day and won’t have the time to bake tray after tray of meatballs. Enter, the crockpot!


Slow Cooker Meatballs

Hunn of Gluten Free on a Shoestring isn’t a crockpot fan, which she admits often. She recently began experimenting with it, and shared her meatball recipe. Wanting to use up some ground turkey waiting in the freezer and facing a busy week, I put these in our dinner rotation. My girls happened to be in  the kitchen as I was getting out the ingredients, and asked if they could measure everything out and form the meatballs. Why not?  Later we ran errands and came home past dinner-time to a hot meal waiting. The crockpot certainly made the meatballs soft, fragile in fact, but no one seemed to mind. The wine mixed into the breadcrumbs was quite strong. My kids are easygoing about flavors and didn’t complain, but I’d leave it out for picky eaters. In order to make the meatballs dairy-free, we subbed 1/4 cup of Nutritional Yeast for the Parmesan cheese in the recipe, and I ended up adding two more eggs since the meatballs weren’t holding together well with just one egg. Verdict: Success! Judgement from an Italian grandma aside, this was a fine way to enjoy a meatball dinner despite our busy schedule.

To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook. Peruse past blogs and keep current with new blogs at

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Store window for Boudoir Baby 114 Partition St. Saugerties

The Hudson Valley is so rich with creativity. I am always excited to find new ways to get creative. You know, minus all the crayons and glitter glue. Also, I am always on the look out for heart melting keepsakes. I found both at Boudoir Baby in Saugerties.

This shop isn’t your average baby boutique. Not only does the owner Veronica offer hundreds of local made items, she includes the customer in the creative process! If you can think of it, Veronica probably knows someone who can make it (if she can’t do it herself!).

This store has so many beautiful things on display! It looks like the inside of an Etsy store, if Etsy had an actual store front.

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Find handmade blankets, hats, toys, crib sets and more!

Being a crafty, but busy mom means I have vision and very little time. The most exciting part of working with Veronica designing creative keepsakes is that I can outsource the actual work.  Win-win! Here are some of my awesome finds:

Make a Memory

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Make a special left over shirt into a one of a kind and totally lovable keepsake!

Memory bears are a super heart melty way to give new life to a favorite shirt, or uniform, or other article of clothing that belonged to a loved one. This little bear (pictured above) was once a grandpa’s shirt. My father in law passed away 12 years ago, and left behind a few uniform shirts that will serve beautifully as bears my kids can hug and squeeze tight! Wedding gowns, Nana’s old house coat, even your child’s favorite outgrown clothing can become the sweetest memory! Prices are $35.00-$45.00 and usually takes around two weeks to complete. This is really a personal keepsake treasure!

Make It Personal

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A special keepsake personalized with a child’s name on it is sure to be a hit!

I also really, really love the simplicity of this little gift- a little lamb with a personalized scarf. The lambs are so soft and cuddly. Once you select your lamb you can choose the fabric for the scarf, the embroidery font and font color. This is a great gift for newborns, Christenings, first birthdays or just something special. It’s also a very economical gift choice at $24.95 including the embroidery! (Note that beautiful white bear sitting next to the little lambs- it was made from someone’s wedding gown!).

Unique Gift Ideas

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I cannot wait to surprise my mini chefs with these adorable aprons and utensils set! Again, this gift is completely customizable! Transform a family hand-me-down into a beautiful little apron and customize with child’s name. $30.00 and one week turn around! Utensils are $8.00 extra. (Can also add paint brushes instead of cooking utensils for your little painter).

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TOP: Local made toys using eco friendly paints. BOTTOM: Sheepskin baby booties sourced from a local farm and dyed with earth friendly, natural dyes.

Not only can you find unique and locally made gifts, but Veronica helps design every aspect of a baby nursery with a commitment to whole space planning. She keeps an eye on eco friendly products and finishes and an emphasis on locally made, special and unique items. Why didn’t this store exist when I was designing a nursery? My kids got matching crib sets…and I was done.

My girls aren’t little babies any more, but I am excited to be able to create some very special keepsakes for them to enjoy. I also can’t wait to show up to birthday parties with a truly unique gift that no one else is bringing. Oh look, another Win-Win! 😉

The Whatever Mom did not receive financial compensation for this post. All opinions are solely those of the writer. For more information check out the website Boudoir Baby.

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from The Whatever Mom at 



We were invited this weekend to ride the rails at the Chuggington Event at the Catskill Mountain Railroad in Kingston, NY. My boys are huge train aficionados and the look on their faces when the train pulled up and whistled it’s horn was truly priceless. On the train they loved hearing the familiar voices of Wilson, Brewester and KoKo and having them come to life at the after show was thrilling for even the adults! One of my favorite parts though was how the entire event was pulled together. They pulled story lines from the popular Disney channel show in order to create a space that was simply magical for the kids. My youngest is still talking about KoKo’s surprise party!

In Top 10 fashion, here are my 10 favorite parts of the event:




1. Activities for the kids- Around the field are fun challenges and activities for the kids. There are 3 challenges in particular the kids earn a colored Chuggington bracelet at each. The others include bubbles, face painting, food, tattoos and music. All are free with a “tips” jar 😉


2. The train ride- We have been on others that were just back and forth in the train yard. We were on the train here for about 30 minutes. There was staff on the cars who encouraged participation with the on going theme and the voices and music from the show played through the speakers. Towards the end, the kids received hats and blowers for KoKo’s surprise party! I suggest getting tickets for the covered flat for the best seats.


3. Music- I might still be singing the words to the catchy theme song!

IMG_84654. My oldest’ favorite spot was the train table. There was plenty to play with and the friendly staff were wonderful playing with him. There is a ‘toy store’ on site filled with Chuggington train sets, books, movies and more if you want to bring the fun home.


5. The activities were all free! We skipped on the face painting but the boys are still proudly showing off their tattoos!


6. We spent quite a bit of time in the music tent. There were plenty of ways to make music and the woman singing was awesome and super friendly!


7. The firetruck was another big hit! My youngest was thrilled with the chance to climb aboard, ring the bell and pretend to put out fires. I love when communities get together and support each other to put on a great event.

8. We were there so long we needed lunch. We were able to choose from pizza or grilled burgers and hot dogs for an inexpensive, family friendly bite to eat.

9. You can easily spend an entire day in the area. We spent three hours at the Chugginton event, and skipped quite a few things. We also received a ticket with discounts for other local places around town and could have spent a few more hours in the area before heading home.

10. There is only 1 weekend left to ride the rails!

Trains run every hour from 10am until 4pm. Plan to spend 2-3 hours.

Tickets are $19 a person.

Advance tickets are required, as seating is limited. All trains depart from Westbook Station at Kingston Plaza.

Disclaimer – Pamela Perry, author of Top 10 Tuesday received tickets to Catskill Mountain Railroad to help facilitate this review as a resource for Hudson Valley Parent readers in conjunction with places to go. Hudson Valley Parent Magazine did not receive any other compensation for this post.

A fun-filled day in these neighboring Dutchess County towns

me-profileBy Kathy Ng

When the weather gets warm, the Rhinebeck and Red Hook area in Dutchess County is our family’s favorite weekend destination. With lots of kids family activities, space to run around and explore, charming shops and great food, it is not hard to spend a fun-filled day in these two small towns.

Things to Do in Dutchess County

The Rhinebeck Farmers Market, which runs year round on Sundays from 10am-2pm, is probably one of the best in Dutchess County. In addition to farm fresh foods, kids can try the tasty Aba’s falafel, fresh tacos, ciders, and more. The farmers market moves outdoors after Mother’s day, which makes it even more fun for the little ones.

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The Poets Walk Park is a beautiful hike at any age. The trail is only 2 miles, but you will find woods and meadows, footbridges, special pavilions and Hudson River views.

The Rhinebeck Aerodrome opens from June to October. It is like a time machine where you can see airplanes as well as automobiles, motorcycles, and early engines from 1900-1939. Weather permitting there are exciting air shows every weekend, transporting you in time to the WWI and Lindbergh area.

Shopping in Dutchess County

On the main streets on Rhinebeck, you will find the Al Stickle’s Variety Store, which has been at its Market Street location since 1946. While your children look through all the charming old-fashioned toys like Slinkies and whoopee cushions, you can relive your childhood with its fun selection. In addition to toys, you will find interesting items like craft supplies and fabric, unique household items and cooking supplies, and more.

We also love Oblong Books, the best independent book store in Dutchess County. Not only do they carry a good selection of children and teen books, they also host lots of author events, including hosting famous authors like Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor and Park) and Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid). red-hook-new-york-diner

What To Eat:

Our favorite place to eat at Rhinebeck is Bread Alone. With its fresh bread and fluffy pancakes, you cannot really go wrong. If you are looking to dine at a fun place, try the Historic Village Diner, housed in a Silk City dining car from 1927. The food there is also pretty good and affordable.


If you are up for dessert, the Red Hook ice cream shop Holy Cow is a local favorite. It was named one of the top ten ice cream shops in the country by Trip Advisor. There are also other great ice cream choices. Village Pizza in Rhinebeck serves locally made Jane’s Ice Cream, and the gourmet chocolate shop Oliver Kita serves amazing (mostly chocolate) ice cream as well.

Kathy lives with her husband, two boys, and her well-traveled dog (who has been to three continents) in Dutchess County. She enjoys traveling, photography, and trying the strangest thing on the menu. You can find her blogging on and

Why are our exceptional children denied exceptional treatment?

susan-paynter-headshot-resizedBy Dr. Susan Paynter

It must be a dirty word because teachers, legislators, and even the parents of the gifted kids seem to be reluctant to use the G word. From No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top, the focus is on bringing the low performing kids to the middle. We have to level the playing field, which means insuring that our brightest kids don’t get too far ahead of the group.

It’s not fair, is it? Those gifted kids have it all — they are smart and things come so easily to them, they hardly have to work at anything! And besides, everyone is gifted, right? Every child deserves a trophy for playing in the Little League, and every kid is a winner.

But wait, what happens if everyone is gifted? And what happens to the kids who truly are cognitively exceptional? Probably exactly what would happen to our most talented athletes if we made them sit on the bench until everyone was equally ready to play.

Recognize their unique needs

We acknowledge that some children need special services because they struggle. Without recognition of the unique needs of the bright kids on the other end of the learning continuum, the gifted become an oppressed class, the ones who are denied services, and appropriate support. If we tried that with a cognitively challenged child we would be sued, right?

Does oppressed seem like a strong word? What’s it like when the gifted are sitting in a classroom learning things they have known for years waiting for the rest of the class to understand …. learning your letters when you already know how to read, or learning to count when you can already multiply? And while they are waiting for the rest of the class to catch up, they are told to sit still.

No one wants to use that dirty word “gifted” since, after all, they don’t need anything because they are already so smart and know everything in the common core curriculum. And talking about them makes you an elitist. What if you were asked to sit in a room and learn how to tie your shoe for hours each day, even though you have known how for years. Would you feel lucky to be smart?

Children in one of Dr. Paynter’s workshops for gifted students participate in a floating experiment.

‘Grit factor’

What about that “grit factor” everyone is talking about? It is widely accepted that one of the most critical attributes of success in adulthood is grit. If a child is spending their day learning things they already know, then how do they develop the grit that is essential for success? How do they learn resilience? How do they snatch victory from defeat if they never fail?

It’s time we fought for the rights of our brightest students with as much energy and effort as we have fought for the rights of our struggling learners. And let’s shout that dirty word “gifted” from the roof tops because we are mad as hell and we are not going to be average anymore.

Dr. Susan Paynter lives in Woodstock and is a national presenter on programming for gifted children. Dr. Paynter served as the Director of Gifted Programs for Montclair University and is a New York state certified school administrator and experienced teacher of gifted and twice exceptional students. For more information on advocacy and support for gifted children, visit or email

son campingJune is winding down and with it comes the final days of school, the crazy schedules and plenty of family time. My list of family fun adventures is growing by the day! I showed my four year old the list I had started this week and asked him what he’d like to add. Not surprisingly he rattled off a few names of friend’s homes he’d like to visit, a few of his favorite local indoor play spots and then mentioned camping. My husband and I spent a lot of time camping before kids came along but I have shyed away from the idea in the last few years. We attempted it two years ago and although everyone did have a great time, the extra work for this mom just didn’t seem worth it. My son still brings it up now and then and I regret not making it there last year. So camping was scribbled onto the bottom of the list and I spent the next few hours hunting down some of the best family campgrounds nearby (that way we can make a mad dash home if things go terribly wrong).

Do you enjoy family camping? Do you have a favorite campsite we should try this year? Leave a comment or e-mail me at and let me know!

1. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, Gardiner

Escape the busy everyday life with a trip to Jellystone Park. One of the most family friendly in our area, they just finished installing a brand new and exciting water park for kids of all ages! You can swim all day, relax or play at the many on- site amentities. Some of my favorite include mini- golf, playground, mini theater, jumping pillow and gem mining, plus they have a lot more. A true summer vacation in our own back yards!

2. Sylvan lake Beach, Hopewell Junction

A bit of a quieter option would be Sylvan Lake in Dutchess County. Campsites are along the sandy beach of the beautiful Sylvan Lake with many onsite activities to keep the entire family entertained during your stay. Choose from boating, fishing, horseshoes, volleyball, playground, basketball hoop and more.

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3. Wilcox Memorial Park, Milan

A little hidden gem that (well I guess until now) not many know about! You can visit for the day or spend some time tent or RV camping too. There is plenty to do to spend your days at the park. We enjoyed the paddle boats, the lake, you can fish and the large playground provided plenty of entertainment! Plus everything is relativly close together making it easy to keep an eye on kids running in different directions. Keep in mind the lake is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when you plan your trip!

4. Rip Van Winkle, Saugerties

When I asked around a few years ago for a great local campground many suggested Rip Van Winkle. A staple in the community, many have worked there as teens and are now raising their kids spending summers here. I trecked my two littles up, not sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. A nice and quiet little campground in the Catskills with plenty to do. There are 9 fun zones, fish in the pond to feed, a pool to swim in, a rc track for a race and more fun for the whole family.

5. Skyway Camping Resort, Greenfield Park

Another beautiful campground in the Catskills though the catch here is it is RV camping only. Though if you don’t have one of your own there are RVs on site availible to rent. At skyway camping there is no shortage of amentities. A toddler romping room, clubhouse, fitness center, dog run, game room, spa, pool, fishing and paddle boats amongst many others gives you the resort feeling with a camping experience.

6. Newburgh KOA, Plattekill

If you ejoy camping, chances are you have been to a KOA. Popular through the country, they provide a safe and fun camping experience for the whole family. I particularly like the Newburgh KOA, it’s nearby and full of family fun. Not much further, the Copake KOA is another great option!

7. Rondout Valley Campground, Accord

Tents, RV, cabins, Rondout Valley is another one that has it all. From an adult lounge to 95ft. swimming pool with cabanas it feels like you are vacationing at a top resort! A few of the other amentities include mini golf, fitness center, sports courts and fishking pond.

8. Brookside Campground, Catskill, NY

Family owned and operated, Brookside is a relaxing, family- friendly campground set on the edge of the beautiful Catskill Mountains. They have a tiny tots playground filled with outdoor toys, a pirate ship to play on and explore, a swimming pool, fishing and more.

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9. Lake Taghkanic State Park, Ancram

A Hudson Valley favorite, families love to spend their summer days sitting by the lake here. Camping here is an excitement in its self. Lake Taghkanic has two beaches, boating, picnic area, playing fields, swimming, fishing, hiking and even a snack shack!

10. Brook N Wood Family Campground, Elizaville

A true camping adventure! They offer an enourmous amount of fun for the whole family. Brook n wood offers a variety of camping sites, fun in nature such as forest and brook, swimming pool, sports courts and fields, gaming pavilion, and a full schedule of weekly themes activities!

There are plenty of fantastic dads out there. My husband is one. My father George was another. I’ve known dads who’ve have fatherhood thrust upon them at a young age and yet have handled it with grace and maturity beyond their years, but this Father’s Day I want to say a big THANK YOU to all the dads that didn’t have to be. I’m talking about parenting a child that isn’t biologically yours. I’m talking about loving a child who has or who one day will look you in the face and yell, “you’re not my real dad.”

I feel blessed that I got not one, but two great dads in my lifetime. My step father Tim has been a blessing to me and my family.

I feel blessed that I got not one, but two great dads in my lifetime. My step father Tim has been a blessing to me and my family.

Being Dad Without Being Called Dad

This post is dedicated to the dads that choose not just to parent someone else’s child, but chose to love them as their own. I want to dedicate this post to my step father Tim because he deserves recognition this Father’s Day for being the unsung hero of fatherhood. While my dad died while he was young and still on the parenting pedestal, my step dad was fighting in the trenches, wiping tears, listening to tantrums, figuring out how to teach me math in a format different from what he learned, driving me to and from my first job, and in general doing the heavy lifting of parenting for most of my life.

My step father never tried to replace my dad. He never insist I call him dad or said one disparaging thing about my dad. He respected my dad and vice versa. My step dad had to deal with a very bratty teenage me. We didn’t always see eye to eye, but I never questioned whether he would be there for me if I needed him. He was there for every milestone.

My step dad Tim put aside his own rule of not holding newborns to be one of the first people to hold Sydney just minutes after she was born.

My step dad Tim put aside his own rule of not holding newborns to be one of the first people to hold Sydney just minutes after she was born.

No Such Thing As Not A “Real Dad”

One day when I was in high school he said he would be honored to walk me down the aisle some day. He did indeed walk me down the aisle, telling me corny jokes the entire way. He was there at the birth of my children along with my mother and even after my mother was gone he sat in the hospital with me while I labored with Sydney. In matters of life and death there is no such thing as half a dad or not a real dad or just a step dad. There is simply being a dad.

He was there for so many milestones my own father didn’t live to see. While that ache will never go away, that longing for him to see those moments, I know I wasn’t without a dad to see me through them. I have a father that loved me enough not to need the title of dad to define our relationship. Whenever I talked about my mom and step dad to other people, I always referred to them as my parents. I never felt that it was disrespectful to my father. I know my dad would have been happy to know there was another man who loved his little girl just like his own. Because that’s all a father wants – to see his kids happy and cared for and loved without strings attached.

No Matter How Grown You Are You Still Want A Dad

So while Father’s Day is always a bit painful for me, especially coming on the heels of my birthday and I’m reminded of yet two more occasions passing without my dad, I’m so grateful to have my step father. I’m so grateful to him that I still have someone to parent me as weird as that sounds being a grown woman. Sometimes, like my husband reminded me just last night, it feels good just to be someone’s child for a change. We get so caught up in being parents ourselves that we forget what it’s like to have someone take care of us that way. My step dad faithfully calls me several times a week just to “check in” with me.

Happy Father’s Day to all the men for whom fatherhood came without the passing of genetic traits or DNA, but instead came from a simple and loving choice to say, “you are mine, not by blood, but by heart.” This is for the step dads who took vows to not just love the woman they married, but the children that came with her. Thanks for choosing to love kids without competing with their dads. Thanks for just being there for your kids. Even if they didn’t come from you, there is no one on Earth that could convince you they aren’t yours.

Lunch is an ever-changing meal for us. Sometimes we’re packing lunch for field trips, other times we’re quickly transitioning between homeschooling and getting out the door for afternoon activities. Being gluten-free, the quick PBJ or turkey sandwich is not always an option, so we also have to be creative.


Salad for Lunch

We also eat a lot of green salads this time of year, but after a while the lettuce, cucumber, carrot, tomato line-up gets pretty boring. Sometime we toss in hard-boiled eggs, other times, grilled chicken, but the other day we were in the mood for neither. I looked into the pantry for inspiration and noticed a can of black beans. I remembered avocados and tomatoes ripening on the counter, some corn in the freezer, and presto, lunch. The proportions aren’t important- go with what you love, and vary beans or veggies to your liking. I’m fortunate that my kids aren’t picky and welcomed the different toppings in their salad. This was fast enough to create minimal mess, and didn’t heat up the kitchen. Perfect for a warm day when you want to eat and move on to enjoying the beautiful weather. This would also travel well for a picnic or day at the beach when you want something light.

Share your family’s lunch ideas below. To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook. Peruse past blogs and keep current with new blogs at

Every week I try to share some kind of easy craft or art project to help you keep the kids occupied. Well, this week I am lucky enough to see my own kids art in action! Their preschool adopted a cat to decorate and display in the Catin’ Around Catskills art show. These are precast cats that local artists paint and show off. My kids are so proud to have theirs on display!

First, we picked up a cat map which provides key information on the name and location of each cat. The kids loved searching for their matching cat.


Some of the cats are elaborate, some are simple. But, I think our Egyptian cat is a perfect reflection of all the little hands that went into creating it!

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I saw the cat through various stages of production and when I saw the end result I was so excited my kids could take part in this experience! It made me wonder how can I keep their love of art alive once they leave their preschool? Well, we are so lucky the Hudson Valley is rich with art. You don’t have to go very far to find some free art on display, or ready for creation.

Storm King Art Center– this has been on my bucket list for a few years! This 500 acre of beautiful landscape is home to more than 100 outdoor sculptures (some are interactive). The last Thursday of the month is free admission. Check the site for exact dates.

Dia Beacon Art Foundation– offers contemporary, family friendly art with a focus on education for kids K-12. Community free days are offered every quarter. See site for next date!

Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz– offers a variety of art mediums. From metal, to paper, to paintings and photography. There is plenty to compare. Admission is a suggested donation of $5.00. Check out the July and August schedule for some fun interactive portrait sketches!

Olana State Historic Site-  is the former home of Frederick Edwin Church, a landscape artist and central figure in the Hudson River School of Painting. Kids can see a very realistic paintings of landscapes (mountains, rivers, waterfalls, sunsets, etc.) throughout the Hudson Valley. Adults pay admission, but kids are free up to age 12.

Thomas Cole House– a stones throw away from the Olana State Historic Site. Thomas Cole taught Frederick E. Church to paint. This is a great inside look at an artists studio, and kids can see some really great art. My kids have actually toured this house with their preschool. But, something tells me we will be back there again!

Creating Art:

There are dozens and dozens of art camps and studios catering to kids all over the Hudson Valley. But, sometimes you need not look further than the Farmer’s market for some free pop up art workshops for kids. You can typically find a schedule on the website or Facebook page for your local market. Don’t forget to check out the events pages for libraries in your area. You can find art clubs for any age, or a one time crafting project all for free. Also, check with your local Arts Council for a listing of exhibits and whether or not they have a summer arts program for kids.

We really enjoy making art on our own, but sometimes it’s really great to explore different styles of art and examine the different ways artists create.

Where is your favorite place to go for free art?


The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

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