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Celebrate National Puppy Day

Today is National Puppy Day.  Lately it seems like there is a national day for everything.  Too many.  But I really like this one.  Puppies deserve a day of their own.  Puppies are awesome.  And there are thousands in the U.S. alone, that need homes.  So taking a day to celebrate them, and to encourage adoption, is a perfect “National Day” in my book.

Life is TRULY better with a dog.  (Or in my house, three!)



A great way to celebrate today’s National Puppy Day is by visiting your local animal shelter, or rescue group.  I volunteer at an amazing shelter.  Sometimes, okay, often… it’s the highlight of my week.  I take care of cats and dogs there.  But the puppies are extra special.  I help to “socialize” new puppies.  Socialize ~ meaning snuggle and play with them, and help them get used to people.  Seriously, I’d pay money to be able to do this more often!  I call it “puppy therapy”…  Getting tackled by an entire litter of puppies, greeting me with their “puppy breath”.  (Anyone who has had a puppy, knows what I mean about puppy breath).   There is nothing better.

The puppies are always bursting with energy and so full of love.  But then I often end up with them snoring, passed out on my lap.  My “puppy therapy” lifts my mood like nothing else.  I’ve come to realize that even though we humans take care of our furry friends… I believe they actually take care of us.

There is nothing quite like puppy love.  So get out there and celebrate some puppies today.




And don’t forget to visit, to find a local shelter in your area.


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Why Three Dogs Are Better Than One


Anyone who has a dog or cat, or another pet, knows that there is nothing better than having a fur baby.  They give love freely and unconditionally, especially dogs, in a way that most humans usually don’t.  They become a part of our family.  Not surprisingly, many studies have shown they even improve the quality of life.  They make their humans happier.  And I can attest to that ~ I am a huge animal lover. And my pets make me smile everyday.

Given my love of all creatures big and small, it’s not much of a surprise that as a grown-up, I ended up with a zoo.  Bunnies, cats, fish, and I have three dogs now.  On some days, three feels like a lot.  But ultimately it just means three times the love.



I always had cats, but I couldn’t wait to adopt a dog too.  So as soon as we moved into our first house, we adopted Sadie.



She was a rescue from the Brooklyn, NY dog pound.  Slightly crazy, but full of love.  She has thanked us every single day for rescuing her.

We had “Sadie Sadie Pretty Lady” for 8 fun years, when the idea of adopting a friend for her crossed my mind.  I had my two kids, and wasn’t spending as much time with her, as I had before.  I read a lot about how well two dogs do together.  Being pack animals, they like being around other dogs.  So I began to think that she might like a friend.




We looked on-line at some local shelters, and said we’d take our time and find a dog that would be a good fit with our family.  That ended up being the very next day when we attended an adoption event!  If your mind is thinking “time to adopt a dog”, the next dog you see that needs a home, becomes the perfect dog.  That’s how we got Finn.  Our handsome fellow.  He fit into our family perfectly.  There was no adjustment period.  We all love him and most importantly Sadie loves him.  She became the pack leader and put him in his place right away.  And he is okay with that.  He loves her too.  We were so happy Sadie had a friend.




Having two dogs was great.  For two years.  We never thought of having more.  Two was more than enough. But like having an unplanned extra kid, accidents sometimes happen!  About 6 months ago, I got a call about a dog that had been left tied to a fence and needed rescuing.  I couldn’t say no.  So I rescued an adorable little cocker spaniel mix – Charlie.  I picked him up, fully intending to take him to the local shelter where I volunteer.  I said I’d help find him a great home.  But as soon as I met him, I fell in love.  And he officially joined our family.  Charlie is an especially charming dog.  So charming that I couldn’t bear to let another family have him.  He had me at hello!

So that’s how I ended up with three dogs.



Having two was manageable… but three is definitely tough.  Think of friendships.  Two friends work well together.  But for some reason, three creates an uneven dynamic.


Two of the three usually play together, leaving one out.  Luckily the twosomes vary – sometimes the boys play together, and sometimes Sadie and Finn play together.  But Sadie is always the queen of the house.  She has established herself as the pack leader.  And I’m glad about that since we’ve had her for so long. But the other two often compete for the next spot in the pack.  They all love each other, but there are definitely moments of power struggles.

Another issue is that they follow each other like a pack.  One dog barks at nothing… they all bark.  One decides it’s time to wake up in the morning… they all wake up (and then tackle me to get up).

Also, I’m sure I don’t have to explain that three dogs, means three times the poop!  Not to mention three times the cost, and three times the trouble (Sadie is my food thief, Finn likes to mark his territory everywhere, and Charlie chews everything).



Some days, it’s tough having three dogs.  But on most other days, it’s awesome.  I am the recipient of three times the doggie kisses.  Three times the unconditional love.  Three times the excited greetings when I come home.  Even if I go out for 5 minutes…  they are thrilled to see me again.


And probably the best part is that my kids are now animal lovers too.  They are learning the responsibility of taking care of the dogs and they love them as much as I do.

So even though three dogs aren’t always easy to handle, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Seriously, who would say no to happiness and love TIMES THREE?

~ Cindie ♥






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Top O’ The Mornin’ To Ya!


I’m an American mutt, and while I’m only ¼ Irish, I am proud of that ¼!  So to all of my fellow Irish friends, I say a big ” top o’ the mornin’ to ya”!

St Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in most of Ireland.  It originated in the 17th century as a national feast day in Ireland, to celebrate Christianity.  And even though it is not a legal holiday in the United States, St. Paddy’s Day is nonetheless widely recognized and observed throughout the U.S. as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture.  It has actually been celebrated in the U.S. since the late eighteenth century.

Celebrations include parades, wearing lots of green, eating and drinking (a lot of green stuff, as well as Irish favorites like corned beef and cabbage), and religious observances honoring Saint Patrick.

We celebrated our little bit o’ Irish this morning with a delicious green breakfast (a pistachio muffin, green apples and green grapes!)…


On the menu for the rest of today – green bagels and cucumber slices for lunch.  And since I’m not a corned beef fan, some green shamrock pasta and green beans for dinner (I really wish I could find some green wine too!).

However you celebrate, I wish you the luck of the Irish today.  And I pass along my favorite Irish blessing…



Keep Calm and Shamrock On!

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My Love of Antique and Rustic Decor

My in-laws own a beautiful farm in upstate New York.  It’s where my husband and I got married.

It was a lovely, outdoor wedding, attended by family, just a few close friends, and two friendly cows.cows

Before we got married, we visited the family farm often.  I lived and worked in New York City, which was fast-paced and fun.  Escaping to the farm was a nice break from that lifestyle.  It was a beautiful spot to relax for the weekend, lay in a hammock, help garden and ride quads.  And my husband’s parents’ favorite farm activity was and still is “whiskey sour happy hour”, on the gazebo while enjoying views of the Delaware River and surrounding mountains.  Who can say no to that?

After we had been dating for a little while, my soon-to-be husband and I moved in together.  Like most new couples, we started decorating – together.  I really love decorating.  I like to take time choosing new pieces to add.  And surprisingly, he was very interested in it too.  So together, we spent time searching for a home style we both liked.  Luckily we discovered that we have very similar tastes.  I’m glad about that.  I would hate to argue over home decor.   There are enough other things for couples to argue about!

While we were in the midst of decorating our first home together, we visited the farm often.  We spent a lot of our weekends visiting local estate auctions, farm auctions, farm “garage sales”, and flea markets.  It turned into a fun weekend activity for us.  We soon discovered that we were both drawn to anything and everything rustic.  Farm antiques too.  While I don’t like to decorate entirely in rustic, farm style, it does make up a good majority of my decor.  But I like to add some clean, new lines, in with the old as well.

I thought I’d share some of our favorite rustic pieces and finds…









We have used this table in so many different ways – it’s been an entry hall table, a desk, and now it’s just a charming window table.






Another fun find was this antique hutch.  It had been a display shelf in an old pharmacy in Vermont.  I really love it.






My husband has also started to dabble in making some of his own creations.  He started because we spent some time searching around for a rustic, round coffee table for our living room.  We couldn’t find one we loved, so he decided to try to make one.  This was the result.  He built it from hickory wood beams, salvaged from a 200-year-old barn in Pennsylvania farm country.





Pretty good for a first attempt at furniture making!  Hickory has now become a favorite of his to use – look at the character found in hickory wood pieces.  I love this look.





We’re also starting to make some fun creations with wooden pallets…  I’ll add some pictures of those soon.


And now, 10 years after we got married on that beautiful farm, we own our very own charming farmhouse.  It’s near by NYC, but just far enough outside of the bright lights of the big city, that we can have our own whisky sour happy hours on our patio.  No horses or cows, but rumor has it that it was once an apple farm.  So our style and decor fits in perfectly here.



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Why Gross Stuff Is So Funny To Kids

Life can be gross.  And gross stuff is funny.  Just ask any kid.  Especially my 5 and 8-year-old.kidslaughing

Gross words are hilarious to them now.  Utter any sentence with the word “poop”, “vomit”, “butt” or “toilet”, and my kids erupt into giggles.  I said a new friend’s last name tonight – Butler – and my son fell over laughing.  “You said BUTT mommy!” he yelled.

Gross topics are funny as kids get a little older.  I think that is mainly the curiosity of the unknown. Hemorrhoids, for example.  I remember when I was young and so curious about what the heck hemorrhoids are.  I didn’t want to admit I didn’t know.  Or worse, ask my mom to explain them to me.  So I asked my best friends.  I clearly remember this conversation, probably sometime in middle school…

ME – What exactly is a hemorrhoid?

FRIEND 1 – A giant ball in your butt.

FRIEND 2 – No, I think it’s a bunch of dangling strings hanging out of your butt.

FRIEND 3 – NO!  It’s red vines that grow all around your butt.

ME – Holy crap.  Well, do they hurt?

FRIEND 1 – How could a giant ball in your butt, not hurt?


Then we laughed our heads off.  And we agreed that whatever they were, we’d never, ever, like ever… get hemorrhoids!

Wishful thinking, if you’ve ever been pregnant.  They’re not so funny anymore!  I am sure my kids will be laughing about them someday soon though.

The great news is that as kids (hopefully) mature, they gain tons of knowledge about all the gross stuff.  Some of it correct, and some like my hemorrhoid conversation, maybe not so accurate!  And hopefully when they gain maturity and knowledge, they lose that “fear of the unknown”.  The gross stuff isn’t so hilarious anymore… it’s just stuff.  And life brings lots of stuff.

Some days I’d love to be a kid again.  I’d love to find everything silly.  But you know what?  I wouldn’t trade the wisdom of my old age, for it.  I am glad I don’t laugh hysterically because someone said “poop”!

I will never lose my sense of humor though.  And luckily, life gives us many things to laugh about.  Most are even funnier than poop, puke, pee-pee and hemorrhoids!

Life really is better when you’re laughing.



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Grown-Up Punishments

We went skiing today and my five-year old son got mad because Daddy didn’t wait for us when we were all getting on the lift.image

So I told him that I was sure Daddy would wait for us at the top of the mountain.

And he said, “But what if he doesn’t?”.  And I said “well, he better, or he’ll be in trouble”.

And it was at that exact moment that my son came up with the best grown-up punishment EVER….  He said “if Daddy doesn’t wait for us, he will get BEER taken away for 100 weeks!”   Genius.

Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a punishment more effective than that!




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Snow Day Cabin Fever

It’s snowing again.  How pretty.  (I hope you read that with a lot of sarcasm).

The Northeast has gotten more than it’s fair share of snow this winter.  The falling snow is beautiful in December, but by this point in the winter, everyone is ready for the snow to stop.  We’ve had at least eight school snow days this year.  The first couple were fun.  After that, not so much.

Yesterday was a snow day.  And today, you guessed it – ANOTHER SNOW DAY!  So school has been closed for 2 days in a row.  Every mom out there knows what this means.

Kids with cabin fever.

Mom with cabin fever.

Dogs with cabin fever.


Cabin fever is boredom mixed with bickering kids (fighting about ridiculously silly things), three barking dogs (barking in unison every time a plow goes by our house), and too much Valentine’s Day candy left over.  Add it all together and it equals cabin fever chaos (and a crabby mom).

Cabin fever chaos started early this morning in our house. Our biggest dog, Sadie, is 11 years old, and queen of the house.  She has a bad habit of eating everything.  And I mean everything.  She woke me up this morning with the gagging and heaving noises every dog parent knows all too well.  Apparently she ate a bar of bath soap (I figured this out since it’s missing!).  She then proceeded to throw up soap bubbles.  Everywhere.  At least it was Dove Pistachio Pomegranate bubbles.  They smelled nice.  But it’s not a fun way to wake up.

After cleaning up the bubbles, I got back in bed and tried my hardest to go back to sleep, but my 5 year-old son did his favorite “wake up mommy” routine, of pulling my eyelids open.  I refused to budge.  Even while he repeatedly said “mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, wake up, mommy, mommy, wake up mommy…”  I pretended to be asleep, even snoring a little.  UNTIL… I heard his iPad clicking.  The little %@*%&er, was actually taking pictures of me sleeping.  That’s when the crabby mommy part started.

The day did get better though.  I had a great big chuckle when my 8-year-old daughter decided to get “fancy” and put on my lipstick.  But she missed her mouth.  By a lot.  And two bigger “oops” –  it’s bright red, and it’s 24 hour long-wearing lipstick.  Meaning, it doesn’t come off.  And it’s BRIGHT RED.  And it’s all around her lips!  The meltdown that ensued when she realized she may have to go to school like that tomorrow, was very entertaining.  I reassured her that she may get lucky and we’ll have another snow day, and then only her family would see her clown lips.  She didn’t think that was very funny.  But it made this crabby mommy laugh.

So here we are… the snow day is almost over.  We are all still wearing our pj’s (one with very fancy lips).  We have watched WAY too much Thomas and Curious George.  And we’ve eaten too much heart-shaped candy.  But for the moment, the dogs are finally napping, the kids stopped fighting, and we are all dreaming of spring.  And this mommy is momentarily not so crabby.



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Top 5 Mom Items I Wish Someone Would Invent

I’ve always wanted to invent a new product.  I’ve had a couple of good ideas, but then I usually discover it’s already been invented.  Or I see someone on “Shark Tank” with it!  That always sucks –  I think “Oh man, I was this close”.

This portable potty seat, for example.  Out of pure necessity, I came up with this brilliant idea.032005

One day, I was stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey, when my 3-year-old suddenly yelled – “I HAVE TO POOP!”  I have not experienced such terror as I did in that moment.  Oh, the many joys of potty training.  While searching for the next gas station, Mickey D’s, or diner…  a lightbulb turned on in my head.

I thought – right now I need a car potty with disposable bags!  I soon discovered though, that someone else had also thought of it.  And probably many other moms too.  And you know what?  It really is an amazing invention.  Vital to every family with small kids.  We used it too many times to count.  Really.  If you are potty training and don’t have one, run to Babies R Us and get one!

Besides the potty, throughout my years with children, I’ve come up with some other ideas.  Like the potty seat, most already exist though.

I do have a couple of ideas that I haven’t seen yet.  Maybe because they seem slightly more complicated to construct, than the car potty.  But oh boy, would they make my life so much easier.



1).  A washer/dryer that FOLDS the clothes and PUTS THEM AWAY in the drawers.  (This would seriously be the best invention – ever).

2). A mommy robot/clone that would wake up with the kids whenever needed, anytime before 7am.  (I’m okay after 7am.  But before, not so much). Oh, and let’s not forget, that robot would entertain them until I get up!

3). An automatic dog poop cleaner-upper thingy majingy for my yard. (I don’t need to explain this, do I?)

4). An electric zapper that activates when someone misses the toilet. (I am convinced it would only take one zap to correct the situation.  And yes, it’s for my husband too).

5). A sound proof “MOM POD”. ( It would be like having a mini-vacation in my backyard.  And let me repeat, sound proof!  Ahhhhh…)  It would look like this –


Can someone please invent at least one of these for me?  Pretty please?  I guarantee that MANY, MANY other moms will thank you.  And so will I!


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The Art of Juggling Daily Life: A Mom’s Multi-Tasking Dilemma

I’ve always been a multi-tasker. I think most women are naturally good at juggling. Most of my “pre-mommy life” jobs required I oversee several projects at once. And I was great at it.

When my babies were born, I think I truly mastered the art of it. Breast-feeding a baby, while doing laundry, for instance. Not an easy task, but I did it like a pro. As my kids got older, I added more balls to my juggling act. With my second baby strapped to me, papoose style, I colored with my toddler, fed the dog, all while paying bills on-line. Pretty impressive.

My juggling hasn’t slowed down a bit. By 10am this morning, I realized I had already done more things than most people motherjugglingprobably get done in an entire day. Two loads of laundry, folded and put away. I emptied the dishwasher. Wiped down one of the bathrooms (I had no choice about this chore – I have a 5-year-old son.  I’m sure I don’t have to say more!).  I fed the kids, the three dogs, the cat, and the two fish (I just realized I forgot to eat my own breakfast. I did have my morning cup of tea… that’s a non-negotiable for me). Okay, back to my morning…  after everyone, with the exception of me, ate breakfast, I then went to the bank, Stop & Shop, the vitamin store, and the pet store. Typical Saturday morning errands.

I should add that I did all of this while refereeing my kids’ constant bickering, helping my daughter with her “URGENT” need to make a candle craft she just learned, and listening to my son point out every Thomas train he wants for his upcoming birthday.  Did I mention, it’s only 10am????  And we still have a full day ahead.

I know I am not alone. Juggling is just what most moms need to do, or things don’t get done.

But lately I have have had a couple of problems with my juggling…

1.  The more balls I add, the more I worry that one will drop.

2.  The more balls I add, the less attention I give to each ball.

While “dropping a ball” could cause a problem, I actually worry more about the attention I am now not giving to each of my balls. Lately I half-listen to everyone. I am half-there. Half-present.

So my multi-tasking dilemma is to figure out how I can step back and juggle fewer balls.  I need to try harder to be more present.  Mastering the art of multi-tasking may have seemed easy.  But this part is going to be harder. But important. As my kids get older, they need me more present. They need less of my “doing” and more of my “listening”.

So today, this master juggler is going to try to put down a few balls!

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