Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog


Life in a City or Suburbs?

Over the last two weeks we have transitioned from our tiny apartment in New York City to our large(r) house in the suburbs of North Carolina.  I miss NYC but I’m also glad to be back in NC.  Throughout our three-month visit in NYC, I’ve thought long and hard about what I like about both places.  Here’s what I learned:

What I love about NYC:

1.) Everything in walking distance – life at your fingertips 

2.) Amazing variety of people, languages and cultures

3.) Energy and entertainment – This City TRULY does not sleep – dinosaur bones, singers in subways, Lion King, Rangers game, Yankees game, Penn Station at 1 am!

What I love about the suburbs (and our “big” house):

1.) Rooms and backyards – extra space is great with a toddler and opening the back door to go out and play is VERY convenient

2.) Open windows = clean air and quiet, nature sounds

3.) Big kitchen – I enjoy cooking in (though not cleaning) my big kitchen – Love our counters for cookies and crafts.

Do you live in a city, suburb, or something in between?  What do you like about where you live?

If you could go anywhere for 3 months (or more), where would you go?

YouTube video – a peak at NYC





Taking School Outside

Do you ever take (home)school outside?  I’m curious how many homeschool families take their lessons outside and what that looks like to you.  What are some creative ways to have school outside?

I took B to a park and we had “lessons” of sorts with chalk.  We practiced colors, shapes, numbers, and letters.  He also loved drawing on the ground.  For a toddler who is WAY more interested in everything to do with SPORTS, his renewed interest in art was an added bonus.  I love seeing bigger kids artwork at the playground too!  I’ve seen alphabet trains, mazes, hopscotch, and cool animals.

We also talked about the season – AUTUMN.  We looked for leaves changing color and collected acorns.  We counted the acorns and delivered them to squirrels.

Beside chalk and nature walks, what are some other cool ideas for taking school outside?

Here are a few pictures of our “lessons” in the park and you can also check out the video entitled Art in the Park on my YouTube channel.

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Labor Day Weekend












What did you see and explore this weekend?  Hot?  Cool?  Beach?  Mountains?  Picnic?  Movies?

We took a boat ride around Manhattan one day and a long subway ride to the beach another day.  One day was spent mainly in the bookstore and watching movies while trying to stay dry and cool.

What I find amazing about NYC:  Diversity – of people, languages, cultures, and activities!



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Exploring History with Kids and Toddlers

As we begin the new school year I wonder: When is the right time to start teaching my toddler about history?  I did not expect to introduce my toddler, now 2 1/2 years old, to history so soon but we stumbled upon this theme because it was of interest to us (my husband and I).  I recall history being a boring topic for me as a child but I was pleasantly surprised that my toddler was interested in the historical places we visited last week.  Admittedly, everything is an adventure to a toddler but that doesn’t mean they aren’t learning.  Learning for them is like breathing.  They just inhale the world around them.  And I love seeing things through my toddlers eyes – all new again.  During our explorations, B was completed captivated by a 30 minute movie on the history of NY City at the Historical Society and played for hours on the Intrepid.  I’m not sure he understood what the 9/11 Memorial was but he took it all in.  I think hands-on exploration is one of the best ways to learn, don’t you?

Are you teaching history to your children?  If so, how?  Movies?  Field trips?  Books?

Below you will find pictures of our trips to the following places:

1.) USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier, docked off the Hudson River and museum.

2.) Freedom Tower and the 9/11 Memorial

We also visited:

3.) New York Historical Society 

Other Resources about history for kids:

Fun Books about History for Kids from The Measured Mom

Apples4theTeacher on Social Studies

Other favorites?





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Homebody or World Traveler? With Kids?


Are you are traveler or a homebody?  Do you prefer a staycation or a trip to a new country?  Have kids changed our perspective?  

I find myself traveling WAY more with my toddler than I ever did or wanted to before I had a baby.  This is the COMPLETE opposite of what I expected.  I still would not categorize myself as a globetrotter.  I don’t enjoy traveling like I know some people do.  And I really haven’t traveled very much.  But now I kind of want to that change.  I never had that urge before.

It is WAY more fun, at least for me, to explore and sightsee with my child.  My toddler (almost 2 1/2) is still an unconscious learner.  That means he absorbs his environment.  It’s not something you can quiz him on.  It just becomes a part of him.  I have the amazing job of showing him new environments.  That makes traveling for me pretty exciting.  Where before I focused on the hassle and inconvenience associated with travel, now I think of the sights and sounds my toddler feels – the wonder and richness.

I am the first to admit that we haven’t traveled very much and I still consider myself a homebody.  And yet, we HAVE visited Miami, St. Louis, Savanna, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands).  Now, we’re in New York City.  Where should we go next?  I’m thinking Costa Rica.  Then, Europe?

Do you LOVE to travel?  What are your secrets for a success trip?  How far would you go with your children?

Below is a bit of a collage of our exploration of NY city.  A hodgepodge of what we have been up to recently.  You’ll see that we visited a beautiful church near Central Park, biked across the Brooklyn Bridge, visited the fountain and carousel in Bryant Park (near Times Square and the Mid-Manhattan Library), and learned to cook and make art projects in a tiny apartment.


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Just ONE Box

If you could keep just ONE box of toys or activities for your child, what would you keep?  I’m not talking about the essentials, like clothes, food, diapers, etc.  I’m talking about the extra things that keep our kids busy, usually called “toys” but not necessarily.  Some people need to make serious decisions about what to grab from their house, such as in the case of a fire, flood, or tornado.  But at that point, you aren’t thinking about toys as much as family momentos or essentials.  Luckily, I did not experience such a dire situation.  I did, however, find myself in a situation where I could only bring one box of toys for my toddler with us on a trip.  And they had to last us for about 3 months (and a few long car trips).  My husband is working on a 13 week project in NY city and I decided we (B and me) should go too.  That meant leaving our big house for a tiny apartment in the city.  What could I bring to keep my toddler busy for 3 months when I only had room in the car for only ONE medium size box of toys?  I had time to plan but in the end time didn’t matter.  I ended up waiting until everything else was packed and we were actually getting into the car to leave before I packed the toddler “toy” box.  I picked a few things (the educational activities) and let B choose the rest.  We are one and a half weeks into our trip and so far so good.

Here is a link to my YouTube video where you can see what we decided to bring.  It’s not much!

What would you bring for your kids if you could only take ONE box?  What are your children’s favorite toys or activities?  Have you ever had a similar experience?

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A Cricket In Times Square

Has anyone read “A Cricket in Times Square” by George Selden?  This was a favorite book of mine when I was young.  I couldn’t help thinking about the story during our exploration of Times Square and Rockefeller Center this past weekend.  I’m not a shopper so I think I’m done with this area of NYC.  Sensory overload!  We visited the Lego store, the M&M store, the Hersey store, and FOA Schwarz.  My favorite was the Hersey store and mainly because they handed out free chocolate.  Daddy and B loved the Legos and large stuffed animals.  I loved hearing B talk to the stuffed animals!  Too cute.


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