Long Island Mom

What I've learned about being a mom.

Cape May

We just got back from a beach vacation in Cape May, at the Jersey Shore. Not the kind of Jersey Shore you saw on that awful (oh come on it was awesome) reality tv show, this was much calmer, more family-oriented and fun. A 3 1/2 hour drive from our home in Oceanside, it’s an easy trip even with 2 little ones in tow.

I packed up my entire house and timed our departure for my 9 month old son’s morning nap. He’s hell in the car, so the longer he sleeps, the better for all involved. We got to the house around 1pm and met up with our friends Devon and Mike and their adorable 3 month old baby girl, London. We toured the beach town of West Cape May and planned what we’d like to do for the next few days.

Mike found our rental home on http://www.vrbo.com and it was so much nicer than any rental home I had ever stayed in. New, clean, cable tv, back deck with an outdoor shower, big bathrooms and a nicer kitchen than the one I cook in at home, by far. Very happy with how that turned out.

We grilled outside that night for dinner and crossed our fingers that the kids would sleep. I put Sofia in the kids room, a bedroom with a set of bunk beds and a twin, with 2 rollaways in the corner. I brought a twin sized aerobed that I put on the floor, so if she rolled off she wouldn’t hurt herself. I anticipated a lot of crying, but luckily she was too tired to fight and went to sleep without issue. David slept in the pack n play in our room and was a complete nightmare. We ended up just putting him in our bed and that means mommy gets no sleep.

The next day we headed to the beach. We were a 10 minute walk, so we packed the kids in strollers and lugged our stuff. The owner of our house was gracious enough to offer us her beach box and chairs to use which was really convenient. The boxes are located on the sand and can store everything you need so all you have to bring with you are towels and snacks. There was even a snack bar right there that offered ice creams, snacks, sodas and water. So nice!

Mike and Devon brought a sun shelter tent thing for the babies, shielding them from the hot sun. Sofia was content to roll around and dig in the sand for hours but David overheats easily and our stay was short. We headed to the Rusty Nail for lunch and were so pleasantly surprised with great food and great service. We ended up there again looking for quick, good food by the beach.

Cape May caters to families, with almost every restaurant offering an early bird menu or discount. Not too much nightlife, and most restaurants we saw stopped seating around 8:30 or 9pm. We found one restaurant, Martini Beach, that was open late. Mike and Devon offered to watch the kids, so Dave and I set out for an adult-only meal. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. Highly recommend this place for a date night!

More fun activities include a Farmers Market from 3pm-sunset on Broadway, and Washington Street, a closed-off cobblestone street full of restaurants and shops. We had so much fun there and plan to return next summer, although I’m currently looking into a child-free vacation. I have never been so exhausted by a vacation in my life!

What recommendations do you have for fun family vacations?

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A Nation of Wimps

A friend of mine posted an article on her Facebook page that you can read here, titled “A Nation of Wimps” that I found very interesting.  To sum it up, we hover over our kids and don’t let them make any decisions for themselves and ensure that they can’t be successful adults because they don’t know how to live without our constant direction.

And it’s so true.

As a high school French teacher in several different districts on Long Island, I encountered so many parents who begged for inflated grades, for me to pass their kids to the next level when they knew they didn’t deserve it, and to excuse ridiculous behavior without punishment. These parents weren’t interested in teaching their children consequences or life lessons, they were interested in preserving their school records and the image of their perfect children.

I hate to get all ‘back in my day’ but this isn’t how my family operated when I was growing up.  I constantly tried to blame teachers for my less-than-desirable grades, and tried to get out of trouble whenever I was caught, like every other kid on the planet.  The difference was, my parents didn’t cover for me.  I was expected to do the right thing, to show up to class, to do my work, to study, to behave well, etc.  When I didn’t, I had to face consequences.

The consequences we as parents face with this kind of ‘Johnny is so special and perfect’ parenting are kids that never leave home, that expect to be taken care of their whole lives, and adults that aren’t aware of their own strengths and weaknesses because they’re unaware that they actually have weaknesses.

I’m not saying I’m not guilty of thinking my kids are special.  Isn’t that what every mom thinks of her kids?  I think my daughter is probably one of the smartest 2 year olds I’ve ever encountered.  But she also has a wicked attitude and has the hand/eye coordination of a stroke victim.  My son is a complete love bug and a charmer, but he screams like a girl.  No child is perfect and no parent should be stepping in to spare them the reality that they do suck at baseball and shouldn’t make the team, or they are lazy and should fail Social Studies so that they learn next year to do their homework.

So I vow to let my kids make mistakes and suffer consequences, no matter how much it hurts me to watch them struggle.  Because these are life lessons and in the long run, I’m doing them a huge favor by allowing them to learn from these mistakes when they’re young and the stakes are low.  I’m convinced this is what makes for successful adults.  Who’s with me?

 

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Supergoop – Review

I wrote a review of a service called Birchbox awhile back that you can read here

I’ve had the service for a few months and have been able to try out quite a few products that I probably wouldn’t have bought if I didn’t have the opportunity to try them first.  Last month, I found a product that I just can’t live without, so I bought the full size.  It’s a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen (SPF 35) and has great coverage.  It’s non-greasy and smells great.

I hadn’t heard of Supergoop before my Birchbox shipment so I did a little online research and found out that they’re a sunscreen company that offers several products from moisturizers to all-over sunblocks to lip sunscreens that are paraben, fragrance and oxybenzone-free.  Safe for the whole family.

The moisturizer is $32 which is pricey for sunscreen but not so bad if you use it as your moisturizer, sunscreen and foundation, which I am doing.  A little goes a long way so it should last me awhile.  The body sunscreens range from $15 for a regular sunscreen to $38 for a sunless tanning mousse with sunscreen.  Links below.

 

Supergoop Site

Supergoop Tinted Moisturizer

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Sesame Place

On our way home from Sesame Place and both kids are fast asleep in their car seats not more than 5 minutes into our trip home. This was our first time at the Sesame Street theme park and we had an absolute blast! It’s located in Bucks County, PA about 2 hours from our home in Oceanside, NY.

We started the day at my husband Dave’s softball game playing with friends, then threw the kids in the car and left directly from there knowing the kids would nap for the drive. They woke up with about 20 minutes left so it worked out nicely. A 2-day pass to the park is the same price as a 1-day pass so we got a hotel room at the Residence Inn in Langhorne, PA about 1/4 mile from the park. We checked in, Dave showered as I got the kids ready and we headed over to check it out.

Half of the park is water rides, with separate areas for little kids and big ones. Water shoes are a must and there are plenty of rides suitable for the whole family so make sure you bring your swimsuits as well. There are also changing rooms and showers in several different areas of the park. We planned to save those rides for day 2 and opted to check out the dry rides and one of the shows – Elmo’s World Live. Sofia was a little scared at first and who could blame her? Elmo’s pretty huge in person. By the end of the show she was singing and dancing on her chair and Dave and I were left wondering who was responsible for this Mr. Noodle creepy character. *shudders*

We left a little before 7 and went to Red Robin for a burger before going back to the hotel for the night. We put David in the pack n play and Sofia on the bed and went into the living room area to watch tv hoping they’d go to sleep. We got a 2 bedroom suite because it was cheaper than 2 separate rooms and had a kitchen and living area. We were there with Dave’s parents as well so it was nice to have an area to sit and hang out while the kids slept.

If they slept, that is. At one point all 4 of us were in the bed together and I was being kicked repeatedly by both kids. Then David went back in his pack n play and screamed and woke Sofia up. Then both kids slept with Big Dave and I went to sleep on the couch in the living room. Then David was up again so Big Dave took him into the living room and I slept with Sofia. So basically, nobody slept.

Day 2 – pouring rain. Not just a drizzle. There go our plans for water rides, right? I packed everything up in case the rain had plans to stop and we trekked back to the park for breakfast with the characters. I think there were 4 cars in the whole parking lot. Breakfast was us and maybe 5 other families so we had a lot of attention from Abby, Elmo and Cookie Monster. Pics with the characters came out super cute but boy was breakfast horrendous. Remind me to eat at the complimentary hotel breakfast next time. The kids can eat the awful French toast sticks at the character breakfast and I’ll take pictures.

The other thing about that breakfast is it starts at 8:45 and the park doesn’t open until 10. I don’t know about your kids but mine can’t do ANYTHING for an hour and 15 mins straight. We did a lot of nothing for a half hour waiting for it to open up.

The rain stopped so we threw our swimsuits on and did some water rides. Sofia loved the kiddie wave pool and we all loved the big family water slide on one of those raft boats. Cold, but fun. There wasn’t much left to do since the rain left everything soggy so we shopped for a bit and had lunch. More awful and expensive kid food. ($10.75 for an cardboard kid-sized personal pizza??)

Time to head out, excited to re-visit next summer with all lessons learned. Check the weather report, bring snacks or plan to leave for meals elsewhere, and drug the kids so they sleep. (Just kidding. Kinda.)

Many thanks to my in laws for coming, buying the kids every toy they could ever want to annoy us with, and for helping cart the kids from one area to another all while snapping pics to document a very fun trip.

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Turkey Veggie Meatballs

Meatballs are one of the very few ways I know I can get protein into my daughter’s diet. She has become such a picky eater that I find myself constantly trying to outsmart her to expand her repertoire of fruit and Cheerios to include a variety of new foods. My mom made this recipe that swaps turkey for the usual ground beef and adds shredded veggies which provides moisture and texture to the meatballs. The recipe was originally printed in Cooking Light Magazine.

Don’t tell my husband’s Italian grandmother, who makes amazing beef meatballs that are fried and then added to her delicious sauce, but I actually prefer these turkey meatballs to hers.

Turkey Veggie Meatballs

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup coarsely shredded carrot
1/4 cup coarsely shredded zucchini
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Combine all ingredients except turkey and cooking spray in a bowl; stir well. Add turkey and mix well. Shape mixture into 30 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Place on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until done.

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