Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

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Adventures in NY City

I’m excited to visit New York City!  We leave Saturday and will be there for several months.  We found a furnished apartment on the Upper West Side.  It would be much EASIER to stay home and let my husband visit us on the weekends (I seriously considered this).  BUT, I also tend to choose the more (or most) difficult option.  Beside, it will be an adventure!  Hadn’t I been asking for an adventure?  Yes, I’m 5 months pregnant.  And, yes, I’m pulling my toddler out of preschool (Montessori toddler class) for a few months.  I’m disrupting his life and routine.  And, yes, the BIG APPLE is very different from our suburban life.  We’re going from big house to tiny apartment and trading our car for the subways and buses.  BUT, this will give me great blog material!

Since we leave this weekend, I’m taking the opportunity to review my Summer 2014 goals for B (28 months) and make new ones for NY City.  Here is an assessment of my success with our Summer goals.  And as I mentioned in the past, I’m shying away from a curriculum per se.  I do, however, prefer structure – aka a list of goals or suggestions for things to work on.

Summer Goals – June through July (27-28 months old)

1.) Potty Trained   – no, some progress but still working on this

2.) Count to 20 – yes, he likes to count!

3.) Practice writing – yes, we practiced, not much but a few times

4.) Build vocabulary – yes, I’ve seen large growth in his vocabulary

5.) Join book club at library – yes, we enjoyed visiting the library about twice a week

6.) Attend vacation bible school – yes, we attending all the meetings

7.) Start geography and science – yes, we did several activities in these areas

8.) Make nature table – no, didn’t even start

9.) Weekly art projects – yes and no, we did art almost every week but not all the weeks

10.) Get ready for baby – yes, B went to all my appointments, we talk about his little brother everyday and he seem to get it

Here are my NY City Goals – August – October (29-31 months) 

As you can see, some of the goals are specific and some are open-ended.  I’m sure I will need to adjust them.  

1.) Observe B daily – watch B work or play silently and write down his interests, help him cultivate his interests

2.) Be a conscious role model – be more aware of B watching me and be a role model of good behavior

3.) Make the library our second home – find a library close by and visit regularly

4.) Independence – encourage and develop potty training, self-care, language and life skills

5.) Explore – learning on the go – trips to museum and parks, no rushing (go on toddler time), talk and learn as we go


Here are some fun pictures of our Montessori-inspired (and other) activities this week.

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Book Review: “Happier at Home” by Gretchen Rubin

Summer reading!  I just finished reading “Happier at Home” a week ago.  Then I plowed through the 3rd book in the Divergent series, “Allegiant” by Veronica Roth.  Next on my reading list is “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv.  Here is my review of “Happier at Home” from

I actually enjoyed this book more than “The Happiness Project”, Gretchen’s first novel. I sped through it, so I must have REALLY liked it. It blows my mind to think of how many books Gretchen must read. I can’t image where she finds the time. Then I think, “Well, she did go to Yale!” I thought all her suggestions and tips where applicable in my life, even though Yale would never let me near their campus and even if I couldn’t figure out from the book how she had time to clean and cook meals like a regular mom. Maybe she doesn’t. She still inspired me to doggedly pursue my resolutions. I might have different goals than her but the “how to” is the same.

I think it’s frustrating to read books that remind us it takes time and hard work to accomplish our goals. Sort of like reading books that remind us that eating right and exercising are the best (and probably only) ways to get in shape and be healthy. We would rather read short-cut books that don’t work. Keeping that in mind, I sidestepped the minor frustrations that arose during the book (such as when and if she actually cleans or cooks) and allowed myself to be inspired. Instead of trying to figure out how many hours she actually spends with her daughters each week, I thought about how dedicated she was to her family in addition to having a thriving literary career.

I WAS little disgruntled after finding out that Gretchen’s father-in-law is Robert Rubin. When I told my husband, he said it was like one of Bill Gate’s kids writing about how difficult their lives were and how they became happier. When you put it that way, I not so sure how honest she was in the book.  BUT…I still liked the book.




Montessori YouTube Favorites

I was inspired to make some YouTube videos recently.  I REALLY enjoy seeing other homeschool or Montessori-inspired rooms.  Below I have link to the videos on my YouTube channel and also some other favorites.  Do you have a favorite source of inspiration?  Do you search for “homeschool” or “Montessori” or “kids” ideas?  Let me know what you think about my videos!  Thanks for the feedback!


Link to all my videos on YouTube


1.) A Montessori Morning – This video shows a primary level student’s 3 hour work schedule at his Montessori school.

2.) Teacher TV – Video on Maria Montessori

3.) Homemade Montessori Toys – Cut e video showing a few Montessori toys homemade

4.) Jady and – This mom has an amazing amount of videos with GREAT ideas for Montessori-inspired homeschooling.

5.) Homeschooling Channel – This mom has many great videos on homeschooling.





Easy Busy Toddler Activities – Egg/Spoon Races, Moving Marbles and Sifting Flour

Grab a spoon and go!  I love our new game of racing plastic eggs on large kitchen spoons.  B yells, “RACE!”  And B can’t get enough of transferring marbles with the wooden, toaster tongs.  I keep watching him to see why he likes it so much.  Maybe it’s the shape and color of the marbles.  We have also been working on cracking eggs this week.  B LOVED cracking the eggs into a bowl and wanted to practice on all the eggs.  I had to explain why we needed to save some – it’s always for Daddy or Papa.  He’s okay with saving some for them.  Earlier in the week we sifted flour.  This activity keeps him busy for a very long time and he becomes completely engrossed (also covered with flour).  Also, B enjoys pictures of himself that I post on the refrigerator.  He likes to take them down and talk about them (himself).  These were the top hits for this week and they were super easy!  What are your kids playing with this week?

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Book Review: Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mom

Have you read “Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mom” by Amy Chua?  It came out in 2011 but I’m just now getting around to reading it.  I found it difficult to read books when B was little.  Now that we have a good evening routine and sleep schedule, I’m able to read books again!  I don’t know why I picked this book to read now but I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!  I even put down “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth to plow through this book.  I think it appealed to me because B is almost at the age when I could sign him up for activities and lessons, like soccer or music.  Not that I will.  But before I know it I’ll have all those options.  It’s a whole new world.

Amy Chua’s girls both started playing piano at age three and quickly entered a world of intense practice and competition.  Their mother, Amy, was deeply involved in their practice despite her full time teaching position at Yale Law School.  Amy Chua’s work and dedication to her girls’ music made me feel slightly inadequate and a bit exhausted.  Could I be doing more?  Are my expectations for B too low?

I know this book caused controversy.  I remember reading an excerpt from the book in the Wall Street Journal and then hearing Chua’s interviews on NPR.  Critics made it sound like Chua was touting her Chinese-style, parenting methods as superior to Western parenting.  I did NOT get that from the book at all.  I thought she poked fun at both cultures.  The cover of the book says that the book was suppose to be about how her Chinese methods were better.  Not that she was actually able prove it.  Her methods were put to the test during her battles with her youngest daughter, Lulu.  If you want to know who won those battles, you’ll have to read the book.

Tiger Mom