Get your Back to School Season On With The Staten Island Family and Win a Staples $50 Giveaway

As a child I remember being perpetually enveloped by a melancholic cloud of sadness during the last  few weeks of August, as it signaled the end of summer.  And now, as a mom, I sense this identical tinge of sadness in my 13-year-old daughter Madi who has already begun fretting about the shift from feasting on Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey till the wee hours of the night to the onslaught of fourth grade school night rules like homework and no sugar past 7pm.

Get your Back to School Season On With The Staten Island Family
While I’m doing my best to counteract my son’s end-of–summertime blues and offset his malaise about beginning a new school year, it is with a heavy heart. Like many parents-I’m more than ready to get my kids back into a take-no-prisoners, we’ve got to stay on a schedule or else I’ll be getting calls from your teachers that you’re falling asleep in class routine, but at the same time it’s another summer of firsts, that passed far quicker than I’d anticipated and will now only live on in my memories as my kids are gearing up for their new school year pursuits.

Fortunately there’s not much time to be maudlin and dwell on the evanescence of time and how quickly my kids are morphing into little people- because these next few weeks are all about getting into back to school mode- The Staten Island Family style. I’m all about stockpiling school supplies, sizing my daughter’s uniforms (which ones can she still wear from last year!) and getting my son up to speed on fourth grade politics!

Keep reading for information on how to help your kids ease back into school mode and your chance to win a $50 Gift card to STAPLES (And Stay tuned for a Staples Back to school Video haul with my 13 year old Madison!)! read more »

12 Quick and Easy Back-to-School Dinners

Check out 12 Quick and Easy Back-to-School Dinners

by Melissa Chapman at

I know it is only July 29 and yet I already have back to school on the brain. While I am savoring these fleeting weeks of summer and unstructured dinner times, I know that soon enough my kids will be in the car driving home from a long day of school and I’ll get peppered with these questions/complaints.

“Mommy what’s for dinner tonight?”

Me: ” Daddy made chicken.”

“But we had chicken last night, I am so sick of chicken, what kind of chicken is it?”

Me: “He made the breaded chicken cutlets you love.”

“No mommy I can’t eat chicken again this week, isn’t there anything else you can make?”

12 Quick and Easy Back-to-School Dinners

Which brings me to July 29- and the cold, hard realization that my husband and I need to have some kind of Back-to-school dinner menu planned. We need to have an arsenal of recipes we can rely on and pull out when CHICKEN just won’t do!

Keep reading for 12 quick and easy back to school dinners your kids won’t balk at ( I’ve already reviewed this list with my 13 and nine year olds and they have pre-approved it!) read more »

School is out for summer: Free and Low-Cost Activities to Keep Kids Busy!

School’s Out for Summer so what are your plans?

I read this hysterically funny rant from another mom today in which she said, “I’m officially over summer if my kids mention one more time how bored they are,I’m going to go postal on them (or something to that effect).”

Well  I am here to make sure your kids only utter that “I’m bored” expression once a day- as opposed to every hour on the hour.

So what have I been doing  this JULY?. Egger’s ice cream shop is one of my favorite COOL places; delicious old-fashioned ice cream- tons of cheap candy! And of course the PUBLIC LIBRARY!! I’ve also been screaming a lot (I’ve decided I’m just going to let my kids fight and let the chips fall where they may–hopefully no one loses an eye), giving my son yodels at 8 am just to keep him nice and happy-that usually lasts about 2 minutes.

But seriously are some tips for getting through tomorrow…

-Make sure they eat breakfast (there’s nothing like a cranky, hungry kid!)
- Start setting up play dates
-Have a fashion show–tell your kids you want them to model their old summer clothes, this way you’ll see what clothes still fit and what you need to replenish (girls enjoy this more then boys!)

There are also  tons of FREE  and low-cost activities right here on Staten Island! While you might have to schlep your kids to them once you get there- at the very least you’ll be giving your kids a change of scenery and who knows, they might actually have some fun.
read more »

Looking for a HEALTHY Frozen Treat? Your kids will go gaga for Ruby Rocket’s #TheSundaySwoon

My kids have a weakness… it’s called SUGAR and they’ll gladly take it in any form, especially when it comes in a brown carbonated liquid otherwise known as cola or in an ice cold popsicle with bright red artificial dye.  But  unless I want them bouncing off the ceilings- I learned the hard way- that sugar and kids don’t mix (truth be told my husband does not do too well when highly caffeinated either)- so what’s a mama to do-one that needs to find a healthy substitute to the “brown bubble water” as my son fondly calls it?

Looking for a HEALTHY POPSICLE? Your kids will go gaga for Ruby Rockets  #TheSundaySwoon

And of course being that summertime is synonymous with snacktime and summer snacks are  more often times than not DRIPPING with sugar-one of the hardest places to cut sugar and chemicals is when snacking. Which is why I am always on the prowl for  a sweet summer frozen pop that is as healthy. And I think I’ve finally found it in Ruby Rocket’s– their pops have no added sugar or artificial sweeteners and are made of all natural (non-GMO, Gluten-Free) ingredients, including fruit and veggies.

But don’t take my word for it– I taste tested it on my little critic, who would like nothing more than to stick his mouths underneath a gushing sugar fountain- and I have to say he was pleasantly surprised.

So why will parents go gaga for them too? read more »

Get Out in Nature with the Kids Without Leaving New York City

My husband is the type of man who could live in a forest, forage for berries, set up a tent and marvel at the miniature beings who roam our earth floor. And as long as he had a radio that could transmit the WFAN sports broadcast 24/7, I can say with complete certainty he’d plant himself there for all eternity.

Every opportunity where he can involve our kids in an impromptu nature walk or lesson is one my husband grabs by the reins and plows into full steam ahead.

Get Out in Nature with the Kids Without Leaving New York City
And while I’d rather swim in a chlorinated pool than a natural body of water, and slip on a pair of Guess wedges than hiking boots, we’re still both tree-huggers and fully committed to instilling our kids with a love of all things green and eco-friendly.

When a friend of mine just regaled me with details of her eight-hour round trip to Lake George to go camping, much to her amazement, I told her she could’ve cut her traveling to a total of 60 minutes and set up a tent right here in New York City.

Imagine, in this concrete jungle of ours you can trek through a forest, sleep in a tent and, if necessary, hop in your car and be back in civilization in a matter of minutes.

So if you’re ready to experience the abundance of natural resources this great city of ours has to offer while the summer is still in full swing, keep reading for some great ways to get outdoors without schlepping to Yellowstone National Park. read more »