March 20, 2017

Flower Power

Today is about using fresh flowers to make pretty crowns just in time for spring…which is TODAY! Happy Spring everyone.

We recently brought a new team member on board, the most fantastic intern, Natalie who has been a great asset to our team. Her greatest skill in the LMP Office: flower arranging. Could she fit in any better?

She lead a flower crown making workshop for us and we of course turned it into a party. What a fun way to spend a morning with friends, huh?! We served a simple breakfast with fresh pastries, croissants and a enormous sweet brioche that we found at our local bakery. Abby brewed a pot of coffee and of course we toasted with pink bubbly.

If you plan to host a flower crown making party, ask your friends to dress for the season and no doubt they will pull out some pretty fabulous pops of color…

Here’s how you can make these flowers crowns with a few materials (easily found on Amazon) and a lotta flowers (if you live in warm climate then check your backyard first!).

Supplies:
Floral Wire
Floral tape
Good scissors
Leafy florals (ie. Italian ruscus, babies breath, spray roses)

1. Take your floral wire and fit it around your head so that you know how long it needs to be.

2. Shape the floral wire into a circle and then twist the end in order to keep it in place at the length you need. (For added security, make the length even longer and wrap the extra around the crown to make it thicker).

3. Take your floral tape and begin wrapping it around the entire crown (Make sure you are gently pulling the tape as your wrap, so that the tape becomes sticky).

4. Begin making small bouquets with your flowers and greenery. Then wrap the ends with the floral tape.

5. Take a long piece of greenery and twist it around the crown, then secure with floral tape.

6. Add in the small bouquets and secure with floral tape, add or subtract to your liking.

7. Take some pictures and have fun!

Photos by Gillian Stippa

xx, Seri
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March 16, 2017

Q&A With Aunti Marissa

Today, Ilana and I had breakfast as we do every Thursday (or sometimes Tuesdays or Wednesdays depending on our schedules) with a special guest joining us:  Aunti Marissa.

Aunti Marissa is my Aunt now Great Aunt to my boys who she shares a very special bond with. She lives in Toronto and is Head of the Guidance department in a secondary public high school. She has been a teacher for her entire career and this year won Teacher of the Year in her board. Pretty huge and so deserving.

She’s a person I trust deeply when it comes to advice about my children and today I opened up the Q&A to her instead of Ilana and I. There was an overwhelming response from you all on Snapchat. We were going to each answer 3 questions however we ran way short on time.

Because Aunti Marissa has such great advice to share we decided to answer the third question chosen plus a few additional questions asked on the blog today. Hope you find Aunti Marissa’s answers helpful! I think you will…

How can I get my 5 year old to want to clean up? Pick up toys and such…

Prior to the situation occurring, parents must sit down and have a discussion with the child about household responsibilities. You need to create a chart defining everyone’s duties one of which will include “tidying up after playing”. It is important that children realize what the parent’s expectations are beforehand. If you try to address it in the moment, there will be tension and resistance. Now, with expectations come consequences if the expectation is not met. These consequences need to be decided beforehand as well with the involvement of the child so that they are clear. If and when the situation arises again there are no arguments. If the child does what they agreed to do by cleaning up their play area, great if not consequence number one is put into action. The child knows that you mean business. There is no loud voice on the part of the parent. Calm and cool. Just remind your child of the agreement. Have the chart in plain view so that you can refer to it. In time, the child will take control of their own duties and only the odd reminder may be needed. NOTE: The consequences must be acted upon or this plan will be for naught.

What techniques do you have for getting really smart kids to listen and behave in class when they already “get” the lesson?

This is a very difficult situation to be sure. You will have to have some strategies that you can work through with your child while you are at home first. They need to learn to take control of their own behavior. Your child needs to have “tools” in his/her toolbox that they can draw upon when the situation in school arises. Secondly, you need to set up a meeting with the teacher to discuss some options for classroom behavior management. What plan is the teacher willing to facilitate? For example, when your child is finished their work ahead of time, will the teacher be willing to allow your child time to research an extension to the topic? Would you be able and would the teacher allow you to provide some materials that could enhance your child’s learning? As an example, would your child’s teacher be willing to allow your child to create an easy experiment such as the one I have copied and pasted below. This would be an engaging extension and give your child something to look forward to. They could make predictions and then chart the progress and then explain it to the class. Sometimes teachers will give “extra” worksheets to children who are finished quickly but it is not always received by the student as a positive solution. Maybe there can be a “maker space” created in the classroom that could be used by all students but would be a positive addition for your child to be sure. This space gives children the opportunity to understand the concept being taught by using physical manipulatives or technology to enhance their learning. Maybe all parents could donate materials to build up this space.

I’m a mom with disabilities. I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and MS. It’s hard to keep up with a 10 & 2 year old. How can I make sure they feel like they have my attention? I’m in chronic pain and feel like I miss a lot of their life. I want them to know how much they mean to me.

First of all, I cannot profess to understand or identify with your situation. It is a very difficult one to be sure. Here are some ideas:

I am not sure how much your older son understands and if he comprehends your limitations. You need to have a discussion with him to discuss what you can and cannot manage. He needs to be able to be allowed to help plan ideas around what works for you. Secondly, he needs to be invested in his younger sibling. By that I mean he can become not just a brother but a mentor to your younger son. He can be the one to teach him how to do certain things and maybe read to him so that they develop a special bond and your little man looks up to his older brother. Now as far as your older son’s needs go, you must give him the opportunity to participate in his normal activities as much as possible. This may mean that someone else takes him or if you can manage it you take the little one with you. If you are able to go too, maybe there is another adult who could watch your younger son to give you some special one on one time.

I suggest that you have a family meeting to discuss your needs and create a duty roster, which accounts for everyone’s personal and emotional needs, household duties and chores, (which should include your little one) and activities and school responsibilities. This needs to be a working document that changes weekly. It should include quiet bonding time with mom. The activity could be a craft that is geared to your older son such as putting together a birdhouse (just an example). For your younger son, you can get a pre-made version at one of the dollar stores or a craft store and your little one paints it and puts on embellishments. Same outcome different difficulty level.

Your duty roster must include every part of your day in order to “find time” to make sure that your children feel your presence and include you in their daily ritual without anger or frustration.

I hope that I have provided you an idea that you can use and I wish you all the best!

Any travel tips for a first flight with my 8 month old?   First time momma here!

First of all, I would recommend the bulkhead if at all possible so that you will have extra space in front of you. I was able to put my daughter down on a blanket to play with them. Secondly, I would recommend an arsenal of favorite toys or a book and snacks. Thirdly, I found that nursing (if you are nursing) or giving them a bottle upon take off and landing helps to stabilize the pressure in their ears. Happy flying!

xx, Seri
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  1. Jessica Mischna

    Thanks Aunti Marissa this is great!

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March 13, 2017

Heaven on Jumby Bay

Every year my husband and I carve out 5 days to OURSELVES. We plan a trip somewhere fabulous, for just the two of us. I think this is one of the keys to a successful marriage when you have kids: alone time.  It’s also important for your own sense of well-being. To spend time away from the office and stresses of life is KEY.

People always ask me how I leave the kids at home to travel.  The answer is I have a few of the most amazing babysitters.  Girls who have been in my boys’ lives for years now whom I trust fully with my babies. I also rely on family. Whether it’s my in-laws or family members from Toronto, it’s a time where the boys get to spend quality time with people who they don’t get to see all that often.

This year, we went to the Rosewood Hotel at Jumby Bay. It’s our fourth year in a row vacationing on this Island. It’s over the top and totally a luxury resort but we are addicted and it’s an annual treat. The beauty, the beach, the service, the food, the weather…it’s all top notch.

The rooms at this resort are like small villas. They are not like hotel rooms. Each room has an outdoor shower and either a hammock or small plunge pool on the deck. There are no room keys as the island is so safe you just leave all your belongings in the villa and come and go as you please knowing that all will be safe. Each room also comes with bikes to get around the island.

The resort is all inclusive so all your drinks, meals and activities are included in the price. The food is so delicious and you never bring a wallet as the service is included so there is never any awkward feelings about tipping.

The staff there is so sweet, kind and attentive. They know everyone’s name and want nothing but to keep the guests happy.

We spend most of the days on the beach relaxing, reading and searching for interesting sea life like the beautiful starfish that are in the water and on the beach. They offer different activities daily and we pick and choose…my favorite is the cooking class while Adam loves to snorkel.

There are four restaurants that we rotate eating at. The main spot is where they serve a beautiful buffet breakfast with an egg station, fresh fruit, pastries and cereal. Lunch is either at the pool grill or the shack on the beach where they serve the most fantastic chicken curry roti.  Then there is the Estate House. Fancier of all the places to eat and only open for dinner. The bartender is a doll and makes the most fabulous cocktails and the food is divine.

Last but not least is the spa. My favorite part of the resort. So tranquil and relaxing. I always get a massage when we’re at the resort. The therapists are amazing and know exactly how to work my sore, stressed out body.

I couldn’t be a bigger fan of this place. We’re hoping to bring our kids there one day soon as they would love the beach, riding the bikes around and trying out all of the water activities.

xx, Seri
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March 8, 2017

How to host a brunch with a Savory Crêpes Bar

We were so spoiled when our friend Jennifer of Crêpes à la Maison asked if we’d like for her and her chef JC to come over and set up a Crêpes bar in our office….

We were like YES!  We’ll invite our friends, bring it!

Well did Jen ever bring it.  She lugged over a huge Crêpes machine, her adorable French chef and a variety of fresh ingredients to top with.

Chef got to work very quickly and whipped up a custom crepe for each of our guests. Some with ham, some with eggs, some with ratatouille that Jen made the night before!

My favorite part was being able to top each Crêpes with the toppings of my choice. I love the taste of fresh herbs all over my food and I just love love the spicy bite you get from scallions.

Everyone was ooohing and aaaaahing, just as you do when you indulge in French food.

What a fabulous tradition and delicious meal for a friendly lunch or a festive celebration.

We love you Jen! You are welcome over with Chef JC ANYTIME!

Photos by Abby Copleston

xx, Seri
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March 3, 2017

Basement Beauty with Better Homes and Gardens

People used to always tell me – don’t do a major renovation in your home until you have lived there for a little while. Boy is that ever TRUE! Once you live in a home you get a feel for what works and what doesn’t, especially when you have children.

In our home out on eastern Long Island, we had an unfinished basement. After 5 years of living there, I finally decided what I wanted (and needed) to do with it.

I asked my friend Lisa of Abaca Interiors if she would spear head the project. Thankfully she accepted and did the most amazing job bringing my vision for this basement to life.

For starters, I needed storage. Storage for all of the Little Miss Party supplies we have accumulated over the years. So Lisa suggested we take one of the walls and turn it into custom built in cupboards that flush into the wall. I took great advantage of these closets filling them with vases, candle holders, cake stands and so much more.

The most important thing to me when designing this basement was to make it feel like a regular room in the house. Not like a basement.

Lisa suggested the wood panels for the ceiling and very light grey stone tiles for the flooring. I love love love how both turned out.

I also wanted a wet bar or small kitchen in the space. This way my husband and I could entertain in the space as well.

We already had an extra fridge in the basement so Lisa doctored it up with some gold tape on the handles. I’m obsessed.

The ultimate goal for this basement was to have a place and getaway for the kids to play. They have so many toys and it was time to send them down there! They now have a chalkboard wall, art table, TV to watch movies and their very own closet for toys. It’s so perfect.

Included in this renovation was a bedroom. We had a two car garage and only used one side of it. So I thought let’s turn one garage into a bedroom so we have extra space for guests to stay over.

Lisa nailed the design in this room. It feels light, bright and like a total escape. My favorite piece that she sourced was for the lighting next to the bed – hanging pendants from CB2.

Now I take great pride in having guests stay over in this space and I always make sure they feel welcome and well taken care of with the simple things like cold water next to the bed.

This basement renovation was so worth the wait.  I’m so proud of how the space turned out and love nothing more than entertaining with the kids, my husband and friends in there.

See more details about our basement renovation in features on:
Better Homes & Gardens
Domino Magazine

Photos above by:  David A. Land
Space in photos above styled by:  Charlotte Safavi
Space in photos above designed by: Lisa Hershman of Abaca Interiors

xx, Seri
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  1. Beth Davidson

    I’m moving this week and we have a formal living room that’s going to sit completely empty for awhile, as we never have any ideas what to do with those. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who waits to decorate everything! I love the chalkboard wall here though. The kids must love that. They don’t use the chalk on all the other walls, do they? I think mine might be too young to get the difference.

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