When Are the Stories of My Children No Longer Mine to Tell?

Creating and maintaining The Harried Mom takes a lot of work. I started this blog a few years ago as a creative outlet for myself, to share my stories about everyday parenting – the good, the bad and even those forehead slap moments that we all experience with our families. Over time the site has evolved to also include family meal ideas/recipes, DIY kid crafts, reviews and fun activity/outing suggestions to do with kids. In the next week or so, I’ll even be debuting a new look to the blog!!

THM_WhenAreStoriesNoLongerMine_1The Harried Mom truly is a labor of love.  See, my #1 job is being a mom & wife ILR to two kidlets and a husband I just adore. After that, I’m a mom who works away of the home (because every mom is a working mom, my job just happens to take me out of the home) in a fab career.  This blog is what I do “after-hours,” at home once the kidlets have gone off to dreamland, The Hubs fed and laundry is done (well, sometimes!). It does take a lot of time, effort and lots of understanding from my family & friends, but I really enjoy doing it so it’s worth it.

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Plank Grilling: 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks – Cookbook Review, Recipe & Giveaway

My favorite cooking appliance isn’t in my kitchen, it’s right outside, literally. It’s my gas grill! I love cooking meals on the grill and use it all year-long — in rain or shine, snow or sleet, as long as there is a clear path leading to the gill, I cook on it. It wasn’t until a few years ago though that I started to plank grill.


Grilling with a plank is a lot like using a pan, except the plank has the ability to produce smoke. This method is great because it provides a stable surface to grill your food on while at the same time infusing it tons of flavor. It’s also healthier than traditional grilling, as dishes remain juicier and require less added fat and salt for flavor.

So when Plank Grilling: 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks by Dina Guillen showed up at the house, I was excited. Up until that point I’d just been pulling plank grilling recipes off the internet, not realizing there were whole cookbooks devoted to this cooking method. Plank Grilling – 75 Recipes for Infusing Foods with Flavor Using Wood Planks is the perfect cookbook for a grill plank beginner or even an intermediate planker like myself. Continue reading ⇒

I’m Leaving (And Returning) On A Jet Plane…

My father worked for the same company for 41 years and in his entire professional career he never was sent out-of-town on a business trip.  In fact, he never spent even one night away from home when I was growing up.  I on the other hand have been working for 20+ years  and I can’t even begin to tell you how many business trips I’ve been on.

TravelingmomI love my career in public relations and its given me the tremendous opportunity to travel and see many places, both large and small in this world.  It’s due in large part to my many business trips that I can brag and say that I’ve visited all the contiguous 48 United States (I’ve also been to Hawaii on my honeymoon, so I’ve been to 49 states,  all I need is to cross Alaska off my list).Continue reading ⇒

There’s A Reason It’s Called “The Greatest Show On Earth” – Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus LEGENDS Review

My daughter and I had a great time at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus LEGENDS performance opening night at the IZOD Center in northern New Jersey.  There’s a reason it’s called “The Greatest Show On Earth” and that’s because year after year this circus does not disappoint!  The show is filled with thrills, chills and laughs and jam-packed with elephants, tigers, horses, amazing acrobatic troupes, daredevils and, of course, clowns.

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Kit Lit – Goodnight Songs by Margaret Wise Brown

When my kidlets were really little there were two books that they begged me and The Hubs to read to them at bedtime each night.  One was Goodnight Moon and the other was Big Red Barn, which both happen to be written by Margaret Wise Brown.  Brown is one of the most popular children’s authors of all time.  Her use of rhymed verse coupled with beautiful illustrations of realistic characters and objects have lulled children, including my own, to sleep for generations.

Though Brown died in 1952, she has a new book of out now called Goodnight Songs from Sterling Children’s Books.  The book isa collection of previously unpublished lullabies that is gorgeously illustrated by 12 award-winning artists.


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If You Don’t Laugh, You’ll Cry

Over the weekend I had one of those face palm parenting moments.

It happened when I went into the kidlets playroom to see what they were up to. I found my six-year old son sitting perfectly content on the couch watching cartoons, but my daughter was nowhere in sight. Unlike my son, she gets bored pretty quick watching cartoons. My girl is constantly in motion, she always has to be doing something so I knew I’d find her around the corner creating a masterpiece at her art table.

That’s when I discovered this:

THM_LaughCry_1One of several clumps of hair I found on the ground that morning.

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What Do You Know? March is Frozen Food Month & Other Random Facts – #FrozenKidfresh Blu-ray Rebate & Giveaway

As I mom, I’m find that I am an incredible font of knowledge for my friends and family. Now by knowledge I don’t mean that I can correctly identify all the elements listed on the periodic table, recite chapter and verse from any of Shakespeare’s plays or solve a complicated (heck even an easy for that matter) algorithm.

The kind of knowledge I’m talking about is more likely to help you on trivia night at a local bar than on a SAT test. I don’t know how, but somewhere along the way I’ve picked up such useful – and totally random – facts as:

  • A sneeze travels out your mouth at over 100 MPH
  • There are 18 different animal shapes in the Animal Crackers cookie zoo
  • Months that begin on a Sunday always have a Friday the 13th in them
  • The names of Popeye’s four identical nephews are Pipeye, Peepeye, Pupeye & Poopeye
  • In the case of an emergency, a Crayola crayon can be used as a candle and it will burn for 15 minutes
  • You share your birthday with at least 19 million other people in the world

I recently learned a new fact, that March is Frozen Food Month.  A whole month dedicated to frozen food,  who knew!   Do you want to know one more tidbit?  To celebrate Frozen Food Month, Kidfresh, the frozen kid’s meal brand, is collaborating with Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment for the release of Disney’s Frozen Blu-ray Combo Pack on March 18.

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How I Show My #DisneySide

Last April The Hubs and I took the kidlets for their very first trip to Walt Disney World! We were lucky that my BIL & SIL, who are Disney park veterans, were joining us and helped us navigate not only through booking our trip, but the park and the all-important Disney character meal reservations! My BIL even worked out a whole Fast Pass strategy so we NEVER had to wait on line for the popular rides and any of the parks so we would just walk up to Big Thunder Railroad, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Peter Pan’s Flight, Kali River Rapids and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, waltz right in and enjoy the ride!

THM_#DisneySide_1Me & the kidlets after our first day at Magic Kingdom, 10+ hours of fun had them wiped out.  Rest assured, they were ready early the next morning to go back!

It was a trip that created a lifetime of magical memories and the chance to experience Disney through the eyes of my kidlets was absolutely priceless. Continue reading ⇒

Run Away With The Big Apple Circus – “Luminocity” Show Review

When I was in 4th grade my elementary school held a talent show.  In addition to the students who actually possessed some sort of vocal, dancing or other performance talent, each class had to come up with their own “act.”  Since my class luckily had a few kids who could actually carry a tune, my teacher decided that we should sing a song, but what would we sing?  Around this time there was a relatively new musical on Broadway and its theme song “Join the Circus” was a catchy, upbeat and whimsical tune which was perfect for a bunch of nine and ten-year-olds to sing to an audience filled with parents, grandparents and siblings!


For weeks we practiced the song and paired it with a little routine.  One boy in class was chosen to be the ringleader and he got to wear a glitzy red coat and black top hat.  The rest of us dressed up in old-school clown costumes with big shoes, funny ties and big red noses!  My mom was a whiz at sewing and she hand-made my clown costume.   It was baggy aqua blue number with a pink netting collar, edged with pink sequence and the look was completed with a tall cone hat that had a pink fuzzy ball on top (gee, I wish I still had a picture of it to show you)!

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Kid Lit: A Real Page Turner – What’s On Our Reading List This Month

Yesterday I got an email about the results of a new study, compiled by PBS Kids and youth and family research firm Smarty Pants, on parents with young children aged 2-6 which found that American families are struggling to prepare their children for kindergarten with five out of 10 parents worrying that their child won’t have the basic skills they need when they start elementary school.

I shared this info on The Harried Mom’s Facebook page and asked readers along with some of my IRL (“In Real Life”) mommy friends to share with me their top tip to get kids onto the path to school readiness.  The most common response I got was reading to/with children on a daily basis and I have to say I wholeheartedly agree! 3D Render of Kids Surrounded by Books

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