Orphaned Items

One of my guilty pleasures is antiquing! Actually, I can’t say I feel guilty about it since most of the time I’m just browsing and admiring. However my most favorite and treasured finds have been from antique and consignment shops.

I love looking through old items once used and cherished by another human being. A human being that once walked this earth and may not even be here any more. The items become like orphans, waiting for a new home. Imagine how many orphaned items there are in this world. Sitting on a shelf, waiting to find a new home. (Of course an even sadder thought is how many orphaned children there are in this world.)

What actually does make me feel guilty is shopping in major department stores purchasing new items when I know if I took the time I could find something used and less expensive in a consignment or antique shop! Walking around one also brings back memories of items that I would have found in my grandmothers home or in one of my aunts home as a child. Most of these people are gone from my life, but when I enter an antique shop, I’ll spot plates and bowls or curtains that bring me right back to long forgotten days spent with loved ones. It’s similar to how a certain smell can bring you back to a long lost memory. Items too can spark up old cherished memories. Or perhaps I gravitate towards items that maybe I owned in a previous life, hmmmm. Who knows right? How interesting is that? Makes me just want to walk through an antique shop right now and wonder about each object. Who owned it? Did I own it once before, is that why I feel so connected to it? My newest discovery is a sweet little shop called Twice Around. I’m absolutely in love with this little gem. The place is neatly filled with used home furnishings and decor for the inside and outside of your home. Everything is set up delicately throughout the store. You can find current items and vintage items.

It’s a real treat to walk through the organized space inside and out. I found several pieces for our new home. I’m just not sure where to place them just yet. It’s funny but I wait for things to truly speak to me, I don’t always know exactly where I’m going to put them. All I know is that they belong in my home and I will find the perfect spot for them in time! Upon entering the store, I fell in love with this beautiful basket!

One can never have too many! I might either use this to store my potatoes in my kitchen, maybe as a little trash can under my desk. Not sure yet, but all I know is that it’s a great addition to my home! I also immediately fell in love with this double handled vase.

I don’t have many display pieces in my new home and thought this would fit lovely on any surface. Perhaps on the fireplace mantle, or on a kitchen shelf. Maybe on my night stand. I don’t know yet, but all I know is that I loved it and had to have it.

Twice Around is conveniently located at 2519 montauk highway, Brookhaven NY 11719. Call 631-803-8666 or visit their website at twicearoundinc.com for hours of operations.


Visit on Long Island: Suffolk County Farm

CowsYum Yum

Cluck Cluck Cluck

I heard about this goldmine 9 years ago while in a mommy and me class with Isabel and it’s been one of our go-to ever since. Sometimes we go for one hour and sometimes we bring lunch and spend an entire afternoon. We love bringing cousins with us and sometimes, we like to spend our family time there. Admission is free and the farm is filled with many common farm animals such as cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, peacocks and I’m sure a few others that I’ve failed to mention. Children or adults can feed some of the animals. Food cups are available for $3 with $1 refills and you can keep the cups for future uses. There is a cute wooden train to the far left upon entering the farm, the kids love playing on it. Not too far from the train is a sweet little children’s garden. The fresh air and wide open field make this space a child’s natural playground. My kids absolutely love this place!

Water Painting Nature Explore Nature Explore Classroom

There’s also an outdoor nature explore classroom with a huge wide open area for kids to run around freely. A stage is set up with a music and movement area filled with instruments made from household or natural items, they change this often allowing children to explore with all kinds of material. The photos I’ve shared here are from the past and present. There’s also a little section where you can paint with water or get messy in the messy material area. There’s picnic tables for bringing lunches and bathrooms are always open! The fun never ends and there’s always something new! Every Year they add or change something which makes it always exciting to visit. They also have classes, camps and festivals that are fun to attend. We always look forward to Baby Animal Day Which is coming up soon in May 2017. For upcoming events visit ccesuffolk.org.

Sister walk Nature Classroom Bees

Have fun!

Visit on Long Island: Quogue Wildlife Refuge

Pond Viewunder a nestWinter, spring, summer or fall the Quogue Wildlife Refuge is a perfect place for a family hike. We discovered it several years ago from a book titledDiscover Long Island”, by (put authors name here). My husband purchased it when our oldest child was born so we could discover new places with her. The book has been so helpful for planning special day trips right here on Long Island, and over the years we’ve discovered some family favorites (The Quogue Refuge definitely being one of them). Its 305-acre preserve has seven miles of trails that we’ve enjoyed on beautiful winters days as well as a budding spring afternoons. We never tire of this place and it’s free! There is so much to discover here, from the outdoor wildlife complex that is the home of several injured birds, owls, foxes, bobcat, and tortoises that the refuge has rescued, to its indoor nature center, where you can discover a  variety of reptiles, freshwater turtles, large insects, Chinchillas and mush more. Inside the nature center there is a spacious room filled with books, a table filled with animal artifacts, and a relaxing seating area with a beautiful view of the pond and surrounding woods. It’s the perfect place to pack a lunch (picnic tables out front) and spend a morning or afternoon.

Lunch Time

They also host a beautiful Earth Day celebration every year that we’ve faithfully attended several years running. Definitely a lot of fun! This year the kids all got a free bag to decorate and Dragonfly Landscape Design gave a free Norway Spruce to everyone who attended! We’ve since planted a few that we received and gave the rest to family members!

Earth Day

Quogue Nature Center


This past weekend we returned for a quiet winter walk and discovered that they added a “story book read along” to one of the trails (absolutely brilliant). The story was the well-known book “The Mitten”, written by Jan Brett. Each page was cleverly mounted into a Plexiglas case and spaced a couple hundred feet apart with arrows directing you along the path. Our kids were literally running from one to the next to be the first one there to read the next page. Their excitement and energy was a testament to how wonderful an idea this story book walk is, and the cases make it easy for the Refuge to replace the pages with the another book every couple weeks.  

Reading along the trail

Reading with daddyMelina ReadingGreat Big Caterpillar Inside Caterpillar IsabelSimply stated: This place is so much fun and you’ll find it hard to leave! I’m sure my children will take their kids here someday!

Find out more at quoguewildliferefuge.org

Schedule: The Refuge trails and Outdoor Wildlife Complex are open every day from sunrise to sunset. The Nature Center is open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Strawberry Picking at Glover’s Farm

       Glover’s Farm

strawberry fieldI love living on long Island, particularly because we are surrounded by plenty and plenty of farms. Berry farms, peach farms, tomato, pumpkin, Christmas tree, grapes, and sunflower farms. Everything farms! Animal farms! It’s so lovely to be able to drive a few minutes away and literally pick fresh strawberry’s! My kids eat so many strawberry’s, I literally bought containers of them this week and then my friend (who had recently taken her daughter)  reminded me that it was strawberry picking time so instead of making another trip to the store, Lia and I went to go pick them ourselves. This was the first time we went with out my other two girls so I have a great excuse to go back!

Our library hosted an hour of strawberry picking at Glover’s Farm this week where each family that registered got to pick one quart of strawberry’s for free, but unfortunately we missed it by a couple of days!

oooh strawberryberrys

Glover’s farm is definitely a fun place to pick Strawberry’s. There was so many to pick from. We filled a 2 Quart container a lot faster than I thought we would. We paid $1 for the container and $4 per quart. The strawberry’s were very sweet and Lia couldn’t resist eating them as she picked. One for Lia, one for the container, one for Lia, one for the container. There’s also a nice playground for the kids to play at and there’s a few animals that you can feed with purchased food. I always bring a lunch and we eat on one of their many picnic tables. It’s a great place to spend a couple of hours on a nice summers day!yum

Glover’s Farm is located at 633 Victory Ave. Brookhaven, NY. 631-286-7876, 631-332-2012. I believe they are open every day from 10 am- 6pm. They take credit cards! (I never carry cash so I was thrilled about that!)

3 Tips for a Successful Summer with kids!

SuccessfulSummer3 Tips For a Successful Summer with kids! I take my job as a stay at home mom very seriously. You gotta be kinda like a teacher! My dad always told me that I should have been a teacher, and in a way I think I did become one.  Aren’t we all our children’s first teacher? In order for a teacher to have a successful year he/she needs to have a curriculum, a plan, more than just an idea about what they will be doing with their class for an entire 9 months. Any plan for success requires lots of advanced preparation. Preparation for anything you do in life is always the most important step. After the preparation is done, everything else goes smoothly, maybe a little bumpy but at least you know where you are going and you don’t have to waste time figuring it out last minute. Since the girls were babies I always had a plan, I think working part time with the older girls helped me stick to a morning routine of having everyone dressed and ready to go in the early morning. I’ve stuck to that routine soon after I had my third and retired (as my husband would put it) to be a stay at home mom. Part of my job is being ready for it every single day! My girls are used to our morning routine and they too have had an easy time getting ready for school, early outings, etc. So above all things, I believe encouraging everyone to be ready by a certain time each day will make life so, so, so much easier and I’d say stick to that during the summer too. It’s KEY for enjoying every single day of the short summer months! Below I’ve listed three more helpful tips to having a successful summer with your kids. This helps to organize part of the days and you can fill the rest with whatever your heart desires!

1.WORKBOOKS: The summer time is not just for lazy days in the sun and floating around in the pool! We want our children to remember the skills they worked so hard to learn all year long. We want to feed their brains and challenge them so that when September comes around again they are ready! Here’s an incredibly simple way to keep our children’s mind stimulated every morning and it doesn’t take more that 10-20 minutes each day. If you start preparing now, I promise it will be something you and your kids will follow through on all summer long. First, think about what you would like for each child to practice or review. Is it reading comprehension, telling time, learning money, math or is it a little bit of everything?  You can keep it simple and purchase a workbook geared for each child’s level. Or you can spend some time online searching different activities, dittos that you can print out. There are so many FREE resources out there and I will list some of my favorites at the end of this post. After you’ve collected your dittos for morning work, separate them for each child. I keep a binder divided into three for each child, hole punch each ditto and that first morning of summer vacation after breakfast and a little morning TV they all get one sheet to work on. That’s all! If they ask for more go ahead and go into your prepared dittos and give them more work! I keep a pencil case in each binder with pencils, dry erase markers, etc. so they have everything they need. Below is a glimpse of what you’d find in their binders. I’m also going to add dittos into their binders from work books. For my youngest entering Kindergarten I purchased scholastic 100 words kids need to read by 1st grade. For my two eldest I ordered a level 2 and level 4 scholastic success with grammar.

morning workmorning workmorning workmorning workmorning workmorning workmorning workmorning workmorning work

If the kids do 50 Minutes of work or more a week, you can reward them with a little treat, trinket or special outing!

2. PROJECTS: I have created a list of projects/crafts I’d like to actually do with the girls this summer. So, if I want that to happen I need to start planning them now. My goal is to have one to two projects prepared each week. Of course aside from these projects they can always paint, play with play-dough, make a collage etc. You can also find more ideas here. And links to fun projects below. You can come up with a list of your own as well, the sooner you make the list the better. This will help you to gather all the materials you will need for each project.

  • Paint and wrap a twig Do you know any kid that doesn’t look for the perfect twig to use as a walking stick or treasure finder? Let them take that perfect twig or stick home and have them decorate it to keep as a walking stick for your next hike!
  • Create a Sailboat I have an idea for my own sail0boat but this one over at www.creativejewishmom.com is definitely one that we are going to make too!
  • Popsicle Stick Tents  This is a cute and simple little Popsicle project I can see the kids enjoying and then playing with it with their little nature center.
  • Vacation Souvenir Jars  All kids are natural collectors, so I’m positive your kids are also shell and rock collectors! This is a great little way to turn those special ones into a keepsake.
  • Fairy Bells I love this project because there are several aspects to it. First the kids can go out and look for the perfect twigs, then they get to wrap the twigs with embroidery string and add beads. I can see putting on some classical music in the background or soundscapes while doing this one!
  • Nature Journal The girls love writing and drawing and have so many journals already but I figured it would be nice to keep a nature journal for the summer. We spend many days outdoors so it can be something they carry around with them for the whole summer. This might be a fun project to start on their first week off. You can make your own or use a simple composition book or sketch book and have the kids decorate it with duct tape and magazine cut outs. Inside the journal, the kids can draw, write poems, tape or glue in leaves or flowers that they find around them. The possibilities are endless.
  • Bird Feeder I love this bird feeder! I have an idea to make a different one with the girls and will post when we make it, but we’re definitely making this one too! I love love our bird visits!
  • A treasure Box The kids made treasure boxes a few years ago and they are still using them to store any little treasures that they find! They can definitely use another one!
  • Shell Art I have a feeling we’ll be doing this throughout the summer

3. TRIPS: Of course lazy days and floating around in the pool are a big part of summer, I like to plan at least two outing a week. My girls are home bodies, they love playing at home and they never run out of things to do, but I like going on adventures and seeing new things so we compromise. Some days at home and some days out and about! If you’re a long island local or are visiting for the summer I’ve listed some of our favorite places to visit (in no particular order). There’s so much to discover here, tons of hiking trails, old estates, I wish I could list them all! You could spend the whole summer discovering Sound Ave (Take the LIE to Exit 68N to WIlliam FLoyd Parkway. Go North about seven miles to Route 25A. Go right (east) on 25A for about three miles to the beginning of Sound Avenue. This road continues for about 17 miles before becoming Main Road in Mattituck.) There’s so much to discover along this route. Farms, Museums, Fruit stands, Wineries, beautiful scenery, winding roads, and so much more!

Long Island Childrens Museum Quogue Wildlife Refuge IMG_7678 lighthouserMothers Day Weekend 194 Yaphank Farm Martha Clara Martha CLara Atlantis Marine


Visit back as I will continue to add more places to visit and FREE activity resources as well.

My favorite resources for kids Activities and printouts

  • Firstpalette.com Tons of craft ideas and printouts!
  • Education.com Worksheets and activities for grades preschool thru high school. You can pay for a membership and have access to any workbook for the entire year. They also have FREE worksheet available to print.
  • Teacherspayteachers.com I love this site! I find FREE stuff on here all of the time! I’ve had an account with them for several years now and have never had to pay for anything! The FREE stuff is very helpful!
  • janbrett.com If your kids love the Jan Brett books, this is a great site for projects and printouts associated with her fabulous books!

Visit on Long Island: LI Children’s Museum

LICMWe’ve been taking trips to LICM (Long Island Childen’s Museum, Garden City, NY) since our oldest was about two. My sister in law used to take her kids here before I had my little ones and I couldn’t wait to explore it with my own children! It’s a bit of a hike from where we live but it’s a great place to spend the day when you have little ones. I used to have a membership until I realized our library gave free passes for up to four people. We can check them out once a month which is great. Check your local library to see what kind of museum passes are available in your area! The LICM museum has about 15 hands on exhibits. If you had all the time in the world you can definitely spend at least an hour at each exhibit. There’s just so much to do, lots of creativity to be had! Bubbles to blow, sand to play with, wood and blocks to build with, instruments to make music with. The creativity is endless! My kids love the big lunch room! They have plenty of tables and vending machines with drinks, snacks, ice cream and I believe they have sandwiches, I’m not sure though because we always bring our own lunch. I do love getting a cup of coffee there and we usually let the kids pick out a little snack.

There’s a cute Backyard exhibit right outside near the entrance to the museum. I believe they open it in the summer time. They have plants and sand and water play so be sure to bring a change of clothes for the little ones.

LICMLICM LICM cm14   LICM LICMLICMLICMAwww, I found a picture of them when they were little LITTLE!! Oh how I miss those days! We definitely have made many memories here!LICMlicm