The Gratitude Project

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it! It’s a great opportunity to reflect on what is most dear to us – family.

It’s also a wonderful time to start a new family tradition and teach children about being thankful.

Get the family together to make a “gratitude” tree, collage, or mural. This simple activity will help your family acknowledge what really matters with a meaningful project everyone can enjoy together.

And the best part, gratitude exercises have been proven to increase overall happiness and well-being, so there's no reason you have to stop in November.

An easy option for a “gratitude project,” is to put up a huge piece of butcher paper and have everyone write what they're thankful for throughout the month of November. Bonus, your kids will love the opportunity to finally have permission to write on the walls!

If you don’t have room for butcher paper, kids also love anything that adds a different dimension to a room. Create a clothesline with Fall leaves made from construction paper and let everyone write what they're grateful for on each leaf. Every single leaf added will be a unique addition to the clothesline.

See all the different ways below with which you can interpret this simple Thanksgiving activity into a meaningful new family tradition.

 

 

 

The Wishing Tree

Someone recently gave me a great idea- Tie some “wish” notes onto a tree or a plant with your kids.

What a beautiful and very real way to capture the imagination of your children and share your own wishes and desires with them too. I do believe putting energy, words, thoughts, dreams and desires into the world in words is powerful.

I’m a fan of road maps and truly believe this is the best way to get where you want to go in life. You can’t get there if you don’t know where “there” is.

Sometimes I find myself in lull periods, where the creativity and productivity and movement forward slow down and I wonder why.

Then I remember a simple truism that I learned once: Your results show what you are committed to. How TRUE!  I really do appreciate the quiet periods between the bursts of creativity, but I feel alive and powerful when those creative times come and I feel nothing can stop me.  I’m excited to share this with my 4 ½ year old daughter, Mikah and it was actually pretty entertaining to learn about the things she wants. Well, It’s a start to manifesting her own reality!

 On her list was a real baby sheep, dog and cat. Interesting!

I love the idea of my daughter and all our children realizing that the sky’s the limit, how a simple wish can blossom into a reality, and what a beautiful thing it is to share our dreams with them as well.

By the way, you can use any type of paper and if you don’t have string, opt for dental floss to tie the notes on! Have fun!

 

Susan Lazar

 

Keep It PACHUTE

The word PACHUTE means "simple" in my native language Hebrew.

"Simple" as in easy, but more then that…Pachute means pure, honest, clear and deep.

I named my boutiques Pachute because for me the word carries a message, and a reminder to myself, to aspire to a Pachute life everyday…Pachute relationships, pachute beauty, pachute joy, pachute faith. I hear so many women say they try to, "keep it real." For me its all about keeping it pachute.

From the moment I open my eyes each morning to when I pass out from exhaustion at night, I am non-stop, which I love. Certainly this life I have created for myself is at odds with my commitment to this idea of pachute. How can I be the wife and mother I want to be, the business owner, daughter, friend, sister, healthy eater, exerciser and learner that I want to be, especially all while living here in NYC, and keep it pachute?

Of course I don’t have the answer, though I am still happily pursuing it.

I feel that maybe the most pachute thing one can do is to simply do their best. Pure, honest effort to be myself, with clarity of purpose, and a deep appreciation for all the blessings of life.

Sharone Perry Komoroff
Owner/ Taste Maker
Pachute Fashion Stores
www.pachute.com
IG: @pachutenyc
FB: @pachutenyc

 

Why Now Is the Perfect Time to Be Imperfect

By Randi Zinn, Founder of Beyond Mom 

Photos by Lauren Crew  http://weddings.laurencrew.com/family/

Being a mom is tough nowadays. Even if it’s not said out loud, we’re expected to be perfect. Our kids need to eat the right things, watch the right shows (or not at all), behave properly, and of course as moms we must nurse until the “right age,” lose the baby weight as quickly as possible, and drink green juice instead of eat croissants. And that’s just a short litany of the pressure we feel, not inclusive of our own personal and professional accomplishments that we ourselves dream of.

My own desires for perfection manifested in a slightly different way this past year by an over reliance on childcare and a blatant fear of taking care of my two kids (one four year old and one six month old) solo for more than a few hours. Ultimately, I was afraid of the ugly moments (tantrums, crying baby, lack of sleep, the strategy to get everyone fed, bathed, and to bed at the right hour) and the things I must turn toward to get through or avoid the frightful moments (bribery, unhealthy food, screen time). The epiphany came when we parted ways with our nanny and summer was upon us. I wanted to be at our home in the Hudson Valley and my husband had to work in the city. Like it or not, I was going to be on mom duty for the summer and I had to face it with a softness and an ease or else no one would have any fun.

I write this as summer unfolds into August, so I’m sure I have some more moments to overcome and lessons to learn. But so far, I’ve realized a few key truths that have lightened the pressure for perceived perfection when it comes to time with my kids, at least for this perfectionist mom.

Good food isn’t about one meal, it’s about the big picture!

Summer time is a time for popsicles, chips and ice cream cones, whether we are happy about this or not. Summer camp days conclude with the garbage side opening of the lunchbox, followed by a sinking mother’s heart when the the same stack of carrot sticks and grapes that you lovingly placed there earlier, stare back at you, untouched. Don’t fear! Your kid’s nutrition doesn’t rest upon one meal or moment (thank goodness). I’ve learned to keep packed lunches super simple and not to stress if they aren’t quite as wholesome as I’d like. Instead, I focus on dinner having a good, balanced approach inclusive of veggies, proteins, and wholesome grains. Health is based on a bigger picture and I’m convinced that simple fun also contributes to an overall sense of wellness. Which leads me to my realization that…

Sometimes fun outweighs the rules

We are a very scheduled family. Bedtime is always within 20 minutes of it’s set time and our baby’s nap takes high priority. But sometimes you have to let it go for the overall state of mind. If friends are visiting from out of town, let the kiddos play an extra hour! If all the families are going out for ice cream, don’t be the bummer mom and refuse to go, just because he had ice cream yesterday. Let go, relax and live a little. The rigidity of perfection is not only a buzz kill but I think it teaches your kid how not to enjoy the sweet moments of life (no pun intended).

Screen time isn’t always a bad thing

Ipads, Iphones and TV shows get a very bad rap and have resulted in an overall sense of failure if you rely upon it on any level. Way too many sentences start with, “I was a bad mommy last night, I stuck the kids in front of the Ipad so I could make dinner.” I have decided to reframe this conversation completely. My son is busy all day at summer camp and in the fall, at kindergarten. He is tuckered out, mentally and physically. Dinner needs to be made and my baby has to be bathed and nursed to bed. Is an hour or two of screen time really that bad? Or is it a way to do things peacefully for ME as well as a way for my son to chill out? And is that really such a horrible thing? I say no. There’s a time and place for everything. So why beat myself up for it if it quite simply…works.

Pick your battles!

Choose the fights that are truly worth fighting- I put those in the categories of safety and respect. Small things I sometimes need to let go- it’s just not worth the energy expenditure to nag 24/7. If we’re considering the overall experience of parenting here, we want something that feels positive and upbeat. Believe me, my son is trouble and way too smart of his own good and when I feel like there’s just too much scolding going on I actually talk to him and say, look I’m not having fun. Either it’s time out in your room or we figure out another way to spend time together. I notice that my child does a better job slowing down when I stop threatening him and have a THIS or THAT type of conversation. Either we do THIS or we do THAT. Less nagging, more directive. I’m no parenting expert but I’m noticing where I make the most headway.

We are usually our own worst critics; I know I am. But I’m learning through some tough moments that I’m more in control of my experience with my kids than I think I am. If I lighten up a little, I’m usually more in the present moment and when we’re in the present, we actually get to enjoy our kids. And isn’t that what we really want most of all? 

 

CECI JOHNSON | CECI NEW YORK

BIO: https://www.cecinewyork.com/ceci-bio

 As a mom, I’m inspired by my children. They give me a special joy like nothing else can and motivate me to create for them. As an artist, designer and all around creative mommy, I love to use my talents to make their worlds a little better. More fun. More colorful. More beautiful. 

 Just like I’ve been doing for my clients around the world for years, now I get the opportunity to design for my family so it’s pretty special to me. For my daughter Elle’s nursery, I used one of my favorite mediums of the moment, watercolor, to create most of the prints on her gallery wall (see image). I framed a few of my designs along with other homemade artwork that her older sisters made because I love artwork with meaning. I also hand painted the swallow birds over her crib. It makes me happy that everything is personal but came together with a cohesive vibe. I love making special things for my children through my creativity. All the birds are black except for the one pink bird at the top. That bird symbolizes Elle. She's the leader of the flock flying to her own happy song. And as she grows up, and asks "Why am I the only pink bird, Mommy?" I can explain to her that it's OK to be different and unique in this world. To embrace what makes you you and only you. And that it's special to not be like everyone else. Encourage her to fly to her own song and make her own way in this big world and that mommy will always be here to catch her if she falls. To never give up and always go after her dreams! 

 As an entrepreneur, that's exactly what I've tried to do, too!  I've been following my dreams of telling my clients' stories through artwork for over 12 years now. Lately I’ve been inspired by the florals in nature and enjoy bringing these details into my work. I’m really into watercoloring them in a loose ombre way and I love the way the colored pigment pools together on the page. The painting looks so pretty in the liner of an envelope for either an invitation or personal stationery. Or, brought into the back of the invitation card. It’s fun to get creative with it. Like seeing how the prints look on fabrics and transfer into your every day style. For me, there are no limits to creativity - in my mom life or work life, it's all about pushing the envelope and exploring the possibilities that will surely beautify your world. 

 

To learn more about Ceci Johnson and her design work, follow her on Instagram (link off @cecinewyork) or visit www.cecinewyork.com 

The Wanting Machine

Susan Lazar & her daughter Mikah
 

One of the things that I’ve been trying to figure out as a first time mom is how many presents I should buy my four and half year old daughter, Mikah. It seems like she wants something new every day.  It’s a constant stream of “Mama can you buy me that present?”

Of course, a giant pang of guilt hits me immediately! I mean, I always want to make my baby the happiest on the planet to the best of my abilities, but how much is enough? How do I say “NO” and feel okay about it?  And how can I get this crazy present buying spree under control??

What I’ve realized most is that the toys she wants and sees are on a fleeting whim.  Her need to have each thing quickly fades and then she focuses on something else pretty quickly, so of course I’m not going to keep falling into that trap!

I’ve also realized that I don’t really have the answer and that’s also okay. One thing I can share is that lately I’ve been trying a reward system. One present a week (that usually turns into more, but at least the message is being communicated), and she gets it only if she is a “good girl.“  I’ve read that teaching this “delayed satisfaction” is a great way to prepare your child for success later in life too- so it’s a double win!

Another idea that I’m trying is to buy one special present meant to be kept for a long time. We started a charm bracelet and every birthday each grandmother buys a charm that we attach to her bracelet.  Mikah loves it and looks at it all the time! I do feel this is balancing the cheap toy fix in a beautiful, memorable way.

I’ve also found these great gifts that promote sharing. For example, there is a necklace that separates into two parts – one for Mikah and one for her best friend. She gets one and her friend gets the other, making the gift extra special.

For sure, I also just love giving presents and see the look of sheer happiness that a $15 Barbie can give my kid. It’s precious! To be able to return to that sweet childhood place, all about exploring something new is something we would all love to do. I hope I can manage expectations and keep her innocence along the way.

Until next month-Enjoy the beautiful summer days ahead!

 

Susan Lazar

 

My name is Gaukhar Akhmetova-Atherton, but everyone calls me Gasya.  I was born in Almaty, Kazakhstan but now I'm living full-time in New York City.  

I began training in gymnastics at the age of four. I was a natural build for the sport and excelled as a flyer in the discipline of women's trio. I trained and competed internationally for 14 years for my country. 

At the age of 17 I was offered a contract to perform on a touring show with the world renowned Cirque du Soleil.  The show was Varekai and it was about to embark on a two year tour to Australia and New Zealand.  I loved it so much that I continued with Varekai for the European leg of the tour for four years.  Varekai holds a special place in my heart as it is also where I met my husband, Andrew Atherton.  A former Great Britain gymnast, now performing a duo aerial straps act with his identical twin brother, Kevin.  It's also where I began to train and perfect my hand-balancing act. 

I left Varekai in 2010 to take part in the creation of a brand new Cirque du Soleil show.  The show was called IRIS and was a resident show for two years in the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, home of the Academy Awards. My main discipline here was The Bungee Act, where I got to leap, somersault, and fly 45 feet in the air, above the audiences heads every night.  It was amazing! Three major events happened in LA. I married my husband, Andrew in September of 2011.  The birth of my eldest girl, Kamali in December 2012 and performing my hand-balancing at the 84th Academy Awards.

I have two children now.  My girl Kamali is 3 years old and my boy Kaysen is 15 month old.  They're both amazing children.  They give Andrew and I so much joy.  Kamali is already showing signs of following our footsteps.  She loves to dance and will always join me when I'm training.  I'm not a pushy mother and try to make everything we do together fun. 

Being a mother is the most beautiful and rewarding thing in the world.  

Yes, I had to postpone my ambitions and career with Cirque du Soleil but the positives of starting a family early in my career far outweighed the negatives.  The moment I took Kamali to see her first Cirque du Soleil show, which her father and uncle were performing in was a moment I will never forget.  The excitement in her eyes and voice when she saw them fly over our heads for the first time.   It brought tears to my eyes.  She turned and said "Mama, that's my papa and dyadya (uncle) Kevin".   She was so proud.   Now, four years on and two children later I feel I'm both ready emotionally and physically to start my career again.  To know that one day soon it will be me on that stage with Kamali in the audience, looking at her mother perform. I will be so proud knowing I'll be leaving that impression in her little mind.  That is what motivates me now.

Gasya Akhmatova-Atherton and husband Andrew with their children Kamali and Kaysen

Gasya Akhmatova-Atherton and husband Andrew with their children Kamali and Kaysen

Get Creative With Our Seedling Activity Kits!

Need to find the perfect gift for a little one in your life?  Even though we love each and every item we sell at egg, we wanted to share some of our customer favorites with you!

The egg community is loving Seedling right now. Seedling kits keep little hands busy while fostering creativity and learning at the same time–such great DIY projects to do with your little ones.

Kids love all the fun they have with Seedling, and parents like it because it encourages creative thinking and interactive play. Play with emphasis on imagination and story telling is so important during these beginning years. A great way for kids to unplug from devices and let their imagination roam free!

We hope Seedling becomes a favorite of yours too!

Here are a few of our best sellers:

1.)  Design Your Own Superhero Cape (available for both boy and girl), where designing their very own cape is just the beginning of the adventure!  They start with sketching out ideas and decorating their capes any way they like. Each cape becomes uniquely theirs.

2.)  Design Your Own Tug Boat, where kids can paint and design their boat before they start their sea adventure. We love a building toy that you can use in your bathtub!

3.)  Another favorite is Design Your Own Bangles, where kids get to design and then wear their very own fashion accessories! 

 

 

 

Susan P Harrison of SusanSweats: What Do the Holidays Mean to You?

Photo Credit: Evan Taylor Gunville

Photo Credit: Evan Taylor Gunville

The holidays are here, which are such a magical time for everyone, but especially for children.  As I think about my childhood, I remember cold & snowy afternoons spent baking with my mother, decorating the tree and the entire house with both of my parents, and perhaps my most favorite, bottomless cups of hot chocolate with the biggest, fluffiest marshmallows.  Yes, adittedly, the holidays can be an incredibly stressful time for us as adults. Somehow we become taken in and obsessed by the “must do”s and the “should do’s”… and our “to-do” list grows ever lengthier by the day.  I do believe that the most important aspect of this time of year for our children and for our families, however, is building and making memories.  The magic of the season allows us so many opportunities to discover secret stolen moments with our little ones - whether it be reading stories, going ice skating, taking long winter walks, or simply cherishing some special down time in between the hustle and bustle with our children.

It’ is so interesting the things we think are important to our children, versus the things which actually are.  I am always amazed when months or years later, my little ones say things like “remember that time we did this…” when I really thought it was such a small insignificant event - for them it was everything.  Not to sound cliche, but it truly isn’t the gifts, it isn’t the presents that they remember from year to year… it is the little things.  The singing songs together in the car, the holding hands while skipping through the park, or the impromptu dance-a-thons in the living room.

In our family, my husband is Jewish, I am Catholic, and our children celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.  The other day, a friend of theirs was over the house for a playdate.  She said, “Wow! You are so lucky. You get double the presents because you celebrate two holidays!”.  My little boy looked at her and said, “Yes - we are lucky because our family gets to be together all the time.”  I hope he always feels that way.

This holiday season, I wish for you to take the time to just be. Be present in the moment: for you, for your children, for your family.  Take advantage of the magic inherent in the season to create special memories with your children that can last a lifetime.  We are given opportunities every day to become closer to those we love.  Take advantage of them and build memories!

Contributor: SusanSweats | Susan Potok Harrison @susansweats; Check out her blog at www.susansweats.com

Bio: Susan worked for 15 years on Wall Street before she became a mother.  She is a die-hard fitness addict whose love affair began in 2012 when she took her first Barry's Bootcamp class, and has continued with other programs and studios in New York City.  As a lover of food and life, it quickly became apparent that as she got older, she needed to be more mindful of her fitness and nutrition.  No longer comfortable in her own body, getting winded when climbing flights of stairs, and tired of buying clothes in bigger sizes, she knew she had to make a change.  When her twin sons turned 3, Susan set a goal of becoming fit and healthier.  Shedding 35 unwanted lbs through sheer determination and lots of sweat, she is a firm believer in the power of fitness.  She holds a BA in Comparative Literature and Theater from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.  She lives in Manhattan with her husband and twin boys.

SusanSweats is a lifestyle & fitness blog to help inspire people to reach their strongest potential in body, mind & spirit - no matter what age.  Susan tries to sweat every single day, and believes the most important training you can do, is training for life.

 

Mama Om: Putting the “ME” back in Meditation

Light pours into a pale green room full of manicured plants and bare walls with the occasional Buddha or stick figure drawing mounted in an ornate picture frame. No sight of the phone, computer, or fax machine. All is silent as the cool breeze moves the sheer curtains and makes a faint whistling sound. I lie back over a bolster and shut my eyes and begin to breathe- focusing on opening my ribcage, feeling the expansion in my chest, spreading of my collar bones, and the opening of my heart. With my palms face up in

Hasta mudra a hand gesture that in yogic tradition that reminds us to stay soft and open so that we can receive. This 15 minutes may be the only time I have for myself…but, hey I’ll take it. 

As a yoga practitioner and teacher I am constantly striving to cut away time for myself in the midst of mama duties and career responsibilities.

All you ned is 5 minutes, a comfortable area to sit in peace and quiet, a nice scented candle, and you’re set. Create the space for yourself to relax and focus intentionally on your breathing. Come to a comfortable seated position whether that is in a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed, elongate your spine so you are sitting tall and firm on your sits bones. On each inhale draw cool breath in through your nose, and exhale and sigh the warm breath out through the mouth. Do this at least 5 times. Then each inhale continue to draw breath in through the nose and on your exhales allow the breath to exit through the nostrils.

Choose serenity, choose peace, on each inhale, and release stress, tension and anxiety on the exhales. Quiet the mind and the ego- that voice that takes you out of the moment. If complete silence is not your thing, then focus on an affirmation- a positive thought that you can silently repeat as you sit, for example- “I choose balance. I am grounded in the present moment”.

When you are ready inhale and reach the arms overhead and exhale the hands to your heart. Gently remind yourself throughout the day to stay grounded and balanced- remember when you are holding space for serenity, nothing can shake you from your bliss- not even a bowl of cherrios spilled on the floors you just mopped.

Latham Thomas @glowmaven is a celebrity wellness/ lifestyle maven and birth doula-  transforming not only how women give birth to their babies, but how they give rise to the best version of themselves. She is the founder of Mama Glow (MamaGlow.com) a lifestyle brand and highly regarded website offering inspiration, education, and holistic services for expectant and new mamas. A graduate of Columbia University and The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Latham serves on the advisory board of Yahoo! Health and is best-selling author of “Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy,” a go-to wellness guide for expecting mothers endorsed by Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr Mark Hyman, Christy Turlington Burns & more.

Latham's leading revolution in radical self-care and spiritual growth, helping women embrace optimal wellness as a pathway to empowerment. She was named one of the “Top 100 Women To Watch In Wellness” by Mind Body Green. A single mom residing in NYC, she is the proud mother of 12 year old DJ prodigy and entrepreneur, DJ Fulano. Latham has been featured in a variety of media outlets including, Vogue, SELF, Fast Company, Wall Street Journal Magazine, Essence, Fit Pregnancy, Dr. Oz, Good Day NY, Inside Edition, to name a few.

 

Make Your Own PSL!

We all know and love the Pumpkin Spice Latte (also known as the PSL) and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Why not stay at home and make your own favorite seasonal beverage? Treat yourself this National Coffee Day. Trust us you earned it! 

Ingredients:

2 cups milk (any % you choose)
4 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup strong coffee or espresso
canned whipped cream

Directions:

  1. Add the milk, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring almost to a boil.  Remove from heat and add to a blender.  
  2. Blend on high until the milk begins to froth, about 2 minutes.
  3. Divide milk mixture between two mugs.  
  4. Add the coffee slowly down the side so you don’t disturb the milk froth, add a squirt of whipped cream and a pinch more of the pumpkin pie spice and enjoy.

XOXO  

EGG

recipe courtesy of farmgirlgourmet.com