Thursday, December 12, 2013

I've been highlighted in another blog

I feel very honored that the lovely and talented Rebecca Miller chose to highlight me in a series of interviews she is doing on creativity. Check out the blog post at Flathead Mama!

Having some way to express yourself or create
something is good for the soul.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Keep Those Toes Toasty with Merryweather Outdoors

Merryweather Outdoors, an Ithaca based business run by Susan Mann has mission to make children’s outdoor wear that keeps kids WARM and DRY and FOCUSED ON FUN. We love spending time outdoors, but come the cold weather, it’s always a challenge to think of how to dress toddlers and preschoolers so that they stay warm. Its not a lot of fun playing outside with cold hands or cold feet. And winter boots for this age group can be particularly intimidating – heavy, hard-soled, stiff and uncomfortable. Sue says “As a South African I grew up outside – we had to be cajoled inside for meals.” That love of the outdoors is something that she wanted to pass along to her son. “I’ve come to love winter – it can be so magical – but that first winter with Luke, we couldn’t find appropriate footwear that would actually keep him warm. Everything we could find was just your standard winter boot downsized to a baby – that didn’t work for us”. The Merryweather infant winter boot system is the product of Susan's first winter as a mother. It is an adaption of the Inuit mukluk concept, which Sue’s outdoor-educator, Canadian, winter-loving husband had introduced her too. “Once we had some footwear we felt actually worked, we went skiing, sledding, snow-shoeing, ice-skating, snow-man building and yes – even overnight winter camping in a snow cave – and baby and all had warm and toasty feet all the time."

Merryluks, Cabin Booties and Super Socks can be worn separately or layered to create the perfect protection for indoors or outdoors. Merryluks are flexible, adjustable and waterproof, not to mention CUTE!

You can learn more about this fabulous local company at and check out the Merryluk boot system in person at Jillian's Drawers, Bloom or Mama Goose.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How can I tell if a movie, TV show, book or game is appropriate for my child?

Every parent makes choices about how their child consumes media, and what they are allowed to watch or read. But how can you learn what is appropriate for your child without having to watch or read everything in advance? Common Sense Media to the rescue!

I discovered this website when I was looking for a longer movie to watch with my daughter. A couple of friends had recommended Finding Nemo, a perfectly appropriate movie for some 4-year-olds to watch with their parents, but we quickly discovered that it was not right for OUR 4-year-old. Our daughter was extremely sensitive to tense situations in movies and TV shows, and she was terrified for the poor little fish who seemed to get into one harrowing situation after another. Hoping to find something longer than 22 minutes that we could enjoy together, I Googled "age appropriate movies" and came up.

This website is run by a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, providing trustworthy information and tools as well as an independent forum, so that families can have a choice and a voice about the media they consume. Common Sense Media rates movies, TV shows, books, music and apps. An expert reviewer gives their opinion on the content and gives the media a sliding scale rating of how appropriate it is for what ages and why. Content is rated using criteria including educational value positive messages, positive role models, violence & scariness, sexy stuff, language, consumerism and drinking, drugs, & smoking.

On top of the expert opinion, parents can give their opinions as well. While these user opinions are not always helpful, they are sometimes very insightful. I've chosen to skip certain shows that the expert mentioned would be fine because of parent comments along these lines, "While I see how this movie can be fine for some kids of this age, my sensitive child was very scared of the witch that appears half way into the movie."

I have not used the website for media other than TV or movies, and not all shows are represented on the site, but in short, Common Sense Media can be a very useful tool for parents and caregivers.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Beautiful, affordable portraits...for a good cause

Looking for a beautiful but affordable portrait drawing? LACS student Aylin Erkan is offering drawings on a Sliding donation scale $15-$30 with the proceeds going to her class's French trip. Wouldn't this make a great gift for grandma? Or yourself? Make an appointment with Aylin at


Monday, October 21, 2013

Outdoor fun at the Caroline Wilderness Campus Saturday Oct. 26 10-noon

Have you heard about the Wilderness Campus at Caroline Elementary School? It's a new outdoor classroom winding a handicapped accessible trails through the wood and along Six Mile Creek! The trail was highlighted in an great article by Terezka Korinek in Tompkins County Life Magazine, which you can read here. This Saturday, everyone is invited to come check it out! The morning starts at 9 with Caroline Principal Mary Grover leading a Community Conversation about the Wilderness Campus. Then from 10-noon the party begins!
Outdoor Celebration for
Caroline Elementary Wilderness Campus
Interactive activities, food, community!

Saturday, October 26th, 2013
10 am - noon

An overhead helicopter will be taking photos of us all as we form a human ribbon around the entire Wilderness Trail. The celebration will happen rain or shine! Everyone is encouraged to wear red!
Mark your calendars and meet at the trail by the Caroline playground. Caroline Elementary School is located at 2439 Slaterville Rd, about 6 miles out of Ithaca on Hwy 79.
Hope to see you there!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Like Ithaca Family Fun on Facebook!

Did you see that Ithaca Family Fun is on Facebook? I use this platform to send out a weekly reminder of the fun things happening each weekend. I usually do this status update on Thursday, just in time for weekend planning. I occasionally use the Facebook page to send out announcements about special events and/or alerts (school closings, etc). No spam, no tracking, just quality info sent to your feed!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

WINNER! Ithaca Times poll: Best of Ithaca 2013

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thank you for voting Ithaca Family Fun the "Best Ithaca Website" and "Best Local Blog" in the Ithaca Times poll!
This win means that more people will be able to benefit from this website than ever before. I'm a strong believer in the notion that active people make for a strong community. Every time your family participates in a community activity, you are helping to make Ithaca an even greater place to live. Thank you!

To see the Best of Ithaca article online, click here!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Finn's Monster Truck Birthday Party

Finn’s 4th birthday party is coming up, so it only makes sense to finally post some pictures from his 3rd birthday, right? Last year he wanted a monster truck themed birthday. Good thing we still have some plates left over, because this year, you guessed it, he again wants a monster truck themed birthday party. My boy.

As we had already purchased Mater for his gift before he decided he wanted monster trucks, I decided to make a cake with Mater pulling a monster truck out of the mud. 

We created "roads" all over the family room with painter's tape.
Ramps and garages completed our town.
 All the vehicles were ready for the guests to arrive!
Fine examples of my cheap-o decorations


The Food!!!

The happy guests!!!

The Birthday Boy
(who will be wearing that same shirt again in a week)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Vote for Ithaca Family Fun for "Best of Ithaca"

Every year the Ithaca Times puts out a "Best of Ithaca" issue. It's a great way to learn more about people's favorite local bars, waterfalls, eateries and such. The categories change each year and there had not been a good category for Ithaca Family Fun to win a "Best of" award....until this year!

Please take a moment go to and vote for Ithaca Family Fun under the categories Best Local Blog and especially Best Ithaca Website.

Your vote means a lot to me, but it is essential for getting the word out to others who can benefit from this website. Although Ithaca Family Fun will be celebrating it's 3rd birthday this fall, there are still many people who have not heard of it. Winning a "Best of Ithaca" award would create huge exposure for Ithaca Family Fun, reaching thousands more parents and caregivers than I could ever reach on my own. I believe in community. I feel that one of the best ways to create a strong community is to get active in your community. Ithaca Family Fun helps people do this. I truly believe it is the best Ithaca website out there, and I hope that you do to. Please take the time to vote.

Go to There is a banner at the top that says "Vote Best of Ithaca 2013." Click on this banner and follow the steps. Once you have submitted your survey, there is still one more step. You must review your answers, type in a code and hit "finish." Though I am not sure about this and I don't see anything about it on the website, their printed copy states you must vote for at least 2/3 of the categories in order for your vote to count.

Thank you so much for your support! And please pass on the word!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer Meals for kids June 24-Aug 30

The Summer Food Service Program serves free meals to all kids and teens, 18 and younger Monday-Friday June 24-August 30 (except July 4). Just show up and eat!

Northside Community Center (625 Hancock St)
Breakfast 8:00-10:30
Lunch 11:00-1:30

Southside Community Center (305 S. Plain St)
Breakfast 8:30-9:30
Lunch 11:30-12:30

For more info, call SFSP Office at 274-2234

This amazing program helps to ensure no child in our community goes hungry.
Please share this info with anyone you think may benefit from it!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Come see "Parent Stories!"

How many times have you heard the words: “Enjoy it! It goes by so fast?” How many times have you said those words?

In the Summer and Autumn of 2012, parents, grandparents, stepparents and caregivers in the Ithaca area met for a series of story circles, in which they stopped to reflect on the child-rearing experience from birth, to college, to grand kids.

These story circles provided the inspiration for an original collaborative play written and performed by parents of the Ithaca community who contributed their stories.

The Civic Ensemble presents: "Parent Stories,"

playing at the Kitchen Theatre
Friday, May 31 at 8pm, and Saturday, June 1st at 2pm & 8pm.
Pay what you can ticketing-
The suggested donation is $5-10 per ticket, but no one will be turned away.

Seating is limited! Reserve tickets here, or by calling (607) 241-0195, then pay at the door - CASH ONLY, please!
The show will run around 90 minutes. Although Parent Stories is about life with children, it contains some adult themes and language and is not recommended for kids.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Family Resource Connection - Tompkins

Announcing the official launch of the Family Resource Connection - Tompkins!
The Family Resource Connection is a collaboration of organizations who provide services for families with young children in the home. Through this online hub, we hope to provide parents, grandparents and other caregivers better access to and basic information about the many resources our community provides. Find the Family Resource Connection - Tompkins at

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Did you know that Ithaca Family Fun is on Facebook? Through the Facebook page, I send out occasional updates and reminders about what's going on next weekend or info about special events. You can "like" the Ithaca Family Fun page by clicking here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Save Isla's Eyes

Save Isla's Eyes is a local fundraising effort to help a local 3 year old girl. Isla was born with Congenital Cataracts and developed Aphakic Glaucoma as a result cataract Surgeries. At her tender age, Isla has already endured years of medications, multiple surgeries, procedures and countless tests. In efforts to save her eyesight, Isla and her family travel on a regular basis to specialists located in Syracuse and Philadelphia. Last April, Isla underwent yet another surgery to treat her condition. Sadly, a rare and extremely severe infection traveled rapidly through the shunt that was placed from her surgery. Isla underwent two emergency surgeries in 48 hours to help stop the spread of the infection throughout her body. She has now lost all vision in this eye. Isla is being monitored closely by her Doctors, whose next concern is to keep Isla’s other eye healthy, especially as she has Glaucoma in this eye as well. She is already on the maximum dosage of medication; it is know the only eye that allows her to see.

As Isla's family encounters numerous medical and day to day expenses, their primary concern is the welfare of Isla and their family as a whole. That being said a little help can go a long way to a family in need. Please consider supporting this family through a donation to their fund. You can find donation info below or attend their fundraiser on Saturday, March 30 at the LakeWatch Inn on Eastshore Drive. The Fundraiser goes from 2-7:30 and will have face painting for the children, an Easter Egg Hunt, Local Bands, Chinese raffles, door prizes, and silent auctions and lots of food, beverages and desserts.

Save Isla’s Eyes
c/o Deputy Langlois, TC Deputy Sheriff’s Assoc
PO Box 3820
Ithaca, NY 14850

Please make checks payable to Adam Langlois and note “Save Isla’s Eyes” in the memo field

You can join their Facebook page here:

Friday, February 22, 2013

Kindergarten Registration 2013

Here's information for the Ithaca City School district Kindergarten Registration 2013. Sorry for the poor copy. I'll update it with easier to read info soon. I'll add info on other area districts as soon as I have it. If you know of info for neighboring districts, please leave it in the comments or send me an email at

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Monster Truck Valentines

Nora has been working on her homemade Valentines for about 3 months now. She really loves create, so I’m letting her go to town. Finn, on the other hand, has no attention span for arts and crafts. All he wants to do is play monster trucks. And read about monster trucks. And watch monster truck movies. And talk about monster trucks. So, of course, when I asked him what he would like to do for Valentines Day for his preschool classmates, he told me he wanted Monster Truck Valentines.

I discovered that premade monster truck valentines do not seem to exist, and even if they did, they wouldn't be the cutesy ones my boy tends to like pictures of anyway. So, after a little online digging,

I found these adorable Monster Trucks on Etsy. I figured that $5 was a small price to pay to support original artwork. I bought them, downloaded them, and I added the wording and a little heart in Picasa. *BAM* we have Monster Truck Valentines.

Seriously, how cute are these?  I’ve re-added watermarking here. If you want them, buy them! So worth it!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Reality at Caroline Elementary

My daughter (whom I call Nora on this blog) loves kindergarten. She loves her main teacher, she loves her classroom aides, she loves her "specials" teachers (music, P.E. art), she loves riding the bus. She loves her school and feels special and at home there. She feels safe and happy. And my husband and I lover her school as much as she does. Her little brother can't wait to go there. Oh, did I mention that she goes to Caroline Elementary school?

Caroline Elementary school was recently given a designation of a "persistently dangerous school" by the state due to the high number of "violent" incidents reported in 2010-2012. However, this designation of a "persistently dangerous school" does not reflect the reality of Caroline Elementary. Caroline is a great school with wonderful caring teachers and a bright and beautiful student body. Yes, there have been some real and concerning incidents, but this is the case at any school. The reality is that a complicated and flawed formula at the State level in combination with reporting issues at the school and district level that has lead up to this designation. Last night's meeting overviewing these reported incidents was very informative. The Ithaca Journal has posted a thorough article covering the meeting. Please read the first article below (and if you have time, the second 2 as well!) before rushing to judgement. Tim McDonald, the principal is happy to answer questions, give tours and allow potential parents to sit in on classes.