LIFESTYLE TIPS TO BRING OUT THE AMAZING IN EVERY MATRIARCH
A creative mind, trained in the field of marketing and a master of do-it yourself and the art of crafting. A kid at heart Thia's a true believer in the healing power of laughter. In her spare time, she is a pop culture disciple, a closet shopaholic, an adventurer and a Disney songstress (for her children, of course).
A former Division 1 ice hockey player, Thia holds a degree in Communications from Boston College.
Give your indoors a customized touch of spring with this inexpensive, Land of Nod knock-off, letter garland. Fed up with the wintery weather still lingering in New England, I was inspired by Land of Nod to brighten up my mantel with some spring décor. If spring won’t grace the outdoors, I might as well transform my home into a budding paradise.
The total cost of my indoor spring fling: $2.50.
Total effort: minimal.
What you need:
String or Ribbon for hanging (Land of Nod uses a shoelace)
Pen (For tracing the letters onto your scrapbook paper)
Handheld Hole Punch
Twine (to wrap around the vase)
**Tip** – If you are unsure about what paper colors go well together, purchase a scrapbook paper pad. These include a collection of prints and patterns that pair very well together.
Step 1: Print out the enclosed letter template that I created and cut out the letters that you want to use for your project. Click here to download the letter template.
Step 2: Trace the letter templates onto the scrapbook paper of your choice. Once complete, you can begin cutting out your letters.
Step 3: Place your hole punch tool on each letter in the location where you want your holes to go. Carefully squeeze the tool and release, you should see your hole immediately after you remove the tool from the paper. Note – for the bigger letters, I used 2 holes in order to balance the weight of the letter.
The small flower vases were $1/each at the craft store. To recreate this look, take a bit of twine and wrap it around the neck of the vase; secure it with clear glue.
Using dried flowers (mine were saved from the bouquet my husband got me for Valentine ’s Day), adorn the vase with one or two buds. Use the vase to anchor the letter garland in place on your mantel, dresser or shelf.
And you have a touch of spring color in a saying that suits your decorating theme of the day (name garland, birthday greeting, party banner, etc.). Now recreate for all your special occasions and be the envy of all your friends.
– Just one knockoff creator delivering a fresh take on spring decor, Thia
We want to hear from you; share your letter garland creations with us on Social Media- Facebook: Amazing Matriarch; Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter:@AMatriarch using #amazingmatriarch.
My foodie cousin always comes up with some really creative ways to entertain my kids when she sees them. Often involving food, Saturday’s activity was no different. She came to our house equipped with an assorted pack of Jelly Belly jelly beans. As soon as she asked them if they wanted to play a game that involved eating jelly beans, both kids, without hesitation, ran to the table and patiently waited for the game to begin.
As a sensory based activity, she encouraged the kids to pay attention to each flavor they were tasting and describe it in their own words. I couldn’t believe that my 2 and 4 year old sat there at the kitchen table engaged for over an hour (this is unheard of especially when there is sugar involved). Their excitement and anticipation over what jelly bean flavor was next in line really was fun to watch.
My 4 year old son correctly guessed at least 90% of the flavors that he tasted. I didn’t realize his palette had already matured so much (clearly this was a learning experience for me as well). My 2 year old daughter wasn’t quite there yet but she was thrilled to join in on the fun and get a new jelly bean when everyone else did.
Why not put your kids Easter candy to good use this Sunday? All you need is an assorted pack of Jelly Belly jelly beans and your kids. With 50 distinct flavors(49 included in the assorted pack), this game is something you can do with your kids more than once. The kids get a treat, they learn about their sense of taste and you are able to keep their attention for an entire game. What’s not to love about this simple activity. Game on!
As a mom always on the go, my appearance is the first thing that suffers from my lack of time in the morning. My go-to hairstyle for a good amount of years has been a soaking wet head of hair thrown up into a messy bun. As a woman in envy of the put together appearances of other moms at school drop off, I decided it was time to seek out some guidance from a hair professional.
Determined to find a solution for my neglected tresses, I turned to my trusted hairstylist for many years, Moselle Sath at Shag in South Boston for advice. As a hairstylist rock star in her own right, Moselle quickly came to the rescue. Her simple, trendy hairstyles can be achieved in under 10 minutes for a final look that will leave you the envy of your friends.
A favorite that works on those with medium to long hair is the Fishtail Braid. The fishtail braid looks like a complicated style to produce, but in reality this polished look is quite simple.
What you need:
Comb or Brush
2 elastics (clear are best)
Decide if you want your fishtail in back or to the side. Comb your hair to the side of your head (or back) and secure it in a ponytail with one of the elastics.
Separate your ponytail into 2 sections.
Working with small strands of hair from the outer portion of each side you’ll pass thin strands from one to the other.
Take a small piece of hair from the outside of section 1 and cross it over the top of the pony passing it to section 2. Now take a small piece of hair from section 2 and cross it over the top of the pony passing it to section 1. You will notice the x pattern that you created in the middle. Repeat this process while maintaining a tight hold and continue until
you reach your desired braid length. I like to braid until I am only left with an inch of hair at the bottom.
***Note – If you have layers in your hair, a full braid may cause the smaller layers to come out, adding a messy effect to the overall look. If you have layers and prefer a more composed look, end the braid at your shortest layer. ****
Once you have reached your desired length secure the end of the braid with a clear elastic. With both of your hands, gently stretch out the fishtail to give it a little width.
Grab a pair of scissors and carefully cut the elastic that held your ponytail in place at the top. Once cut, remove the elastic and finish the look by again gently stretching the fishtail out to give it some width.
The fishtail braid really is an easy style to recreate and it looks fabulous dressed up or down. There is something about a great braid that is chic and elegant but innocent at the same time.
Try this look for yourself and send us your pictures.
We want to hear from you! Find Amazing Matriarch on Social Media- Facebook: Amazing Matriarch; Instagram: amazingamtriarch orTwitter:@AMatriarch and fill us in on your adventures using #amazingmatriarch
If you’re looking for an easy project that takes less than an hour (for young attention spans) that kids will love, try crayon wall art. Use your imagination and for under $10, you’ll create a masterpiece with melted crayons on a canvas.
Glue & Glue Gun (you can use any type of glue)
Painters Canvas (12×12 or 11×14 canvas is a great size)
Embossing Heating Gun (you can find one for under $20 at your local craft store)
Gather up the crayon color combinations that you want to use in this project.
Begin gluing each crayon side by side in whatever formation you want them to go. I prefer to glue my crayons at the top of the canvas to give it a more uniform look but this is art, there is no right way to do it. Use your creativity.
Once your crayons are glued onto the canvas, you can begin the heating process. To get the look that I produced, I recommend putting your canvas in an open cardboard box so that it leans against one side of the box at an angle (plus having it in a box will prevent a mess).
Power on your heating tool and point it at an angle about 3-4 inches away from the tips of the crayons (pointing the heating tool too close to the crayons will cause it to splatter rather than drip downward). It may take up to 30-45 seconds to heat up the crayons and you will have to do this in sections as the heat won’t reach all the crayons at once. I like to point it at the tips only to prevent the heating tool from burning the crayon paper (it is much prettier to look at when the paper doesn’t burn). I usually heat the crayons until the tips melt away. **TIP – If you notice a little smoke coming from your project don’t worry, just pull the heating tool away for a few seconds or move on to another section of crayons to give the area a break before completing the melting process.
Take the show on the road and be the hero of your kid’s preschool class. Since this is an interdisciplinary project that taps into art and science and appeases curious, young minds, my son’s pre-k teacher let me lead his class in creating Crayon Wall Art.
I knew this would be fun, and the finished project pretty cool, but what I did not anticipate were the varying interpretations that the kids had of the art they created:
An epic rainbow
A melting rainbow a.k.a. Melty
A dripping rainbow
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” – Pablo Picasso
– Adding a little color to brighten your day, Thia
Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was known for bringing Christianity as well as its rich history and culture to Ireland. Observed on the day of his death, March 17th, Saint Patrick’s Day is credited as the drunkest holiday. Every March 17th the Irish diaspora celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick and pay homage to “the Apostle of Ireland” and his legacy by wearing green, eating and drinking, and attending parades all over the world. But you don’t have to be from Irish decent in order to join in on the fun.
Here is what is happening in and around Boston that will bring the Irish out in everyone:
Saint Patrick’s Day Parade South Boston – March 15
The “Southie” parade as locals know it, is one of the largest St. Patty’s Day parades in the country. Held the Sunday before Saint Patrick’s Day, you can join in the festivities on Sunday, March 15th at 1pm (regardless of the snow banks).
The 2015 parade route has been shortened due to record snow still lingering along Boston’s streets. Starting on West Broadway the parade will end on Farragut Road.
If you plan to attend the parade, plan accordingly; people start lining up as early as 9am to save spots along the route. If you can’t stay for the duration of the parade, be sure to note that the streets of Southie will close at 11am until the parade has finished; no cars are allowed in or out during that timeframe.
If you are heading in as a family (with children), make your way to the east side of the parade route as it is more family friendly than the west side. Parking is available along William J Day Boulevard and a short walk brings you to the parade route.
As a former resident of South Boston, and an annual attendee, I can say with expertise that this parade is a must see for kids and adults alike.
The Hard Rock Cafe Boston will offer St. Paddy’s Day limited-edition Irish inspired fare. This fare includes:
Irish Mule – made with Jameson whiskey, ginger beer and lime. An Irish twist on an old favorite!
Irish Reuben- this sandwich is filled with slow-cooked, hand-carved corned beef brisket, then topped with crispy sauerkraut, creamy Thousand Island dressing and aged Swiss cheese atop a salt-crusted pretzel roll, served with Hard Rock’s special crispy fries and a side of citrus-spiked coleslaw.
On March 17, The Joshua Tree (The nation’s premiere tribute band to U2) will be playing U2 hits live from the Hard Rock Cafe Boston’s cavern club stage on St. Patricks Day from 7pm – 11pm. Tickets available for $10.
For entertainment or for anyone that wants to get their jig on, The Saloon is featuring the Dunns River band live from 7:00pm – 11:00pm. From 4:00pm – 7:00pm, Dunns River will play an Irish set at Saloon’s sister restaurant upstairs, Foundry on Elm.
The Independent, Union Square Eatery and Bar (75 Union Square, Somerville, www.theindo.com) – March 17
The Independent will open its doors at 11am to celebrate the feast of Saint Patrick with an Emerald Isle traditional inspired menu and cocktails. Classic dishes include:
Irish Breakfast – two fried eggs, grilled tomato, black and white pudding, Irish sausage, Irish bacon, fried potatoes, Irish baked beans, Irish soda bread – $12
Puritan & Company is offering guests a delicious three-course prix fixe boiled dinner this St. Patrick’s Day for $40. Dinner begins at 5pm and for an additional price there will be a selection of local craft beers for meal pairing.
Give Amazing Matriarch a shout out on social media by using the #AmazingMatriarch and don’t forget to #GoGreen4PatricksDay with your St. Patty’s Day attire.
Tomorrow is National Pi Day and Boston area restaurants are serving up pies in all shapes and forms in honor of this smart day. Put on your smartie pants and take advantage of these delectable specials (3/14/15 only) in and around the area.
Salvatore’s – All Salvatore’s restaurant locations including Boston’s Seaport & Theater District as well Medford, Andover and Lawrence will serve up their signature flatbread pizzas for $3.14. This special offer is only available on March 14th, 2015 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm.
The handcrafted pizzas include Bruschetta with tomato, basil, garlic and red onion, fresh mozzarella and balsamic reduction, Rabe and Bacon with braised broccoli rabe, bacon, pepperoncino and mozzarella, Sweet Orchard with sweet Italian sausage, spinach, caramelized apples and gorgonzola, Salvatore’s take on the traditional Margherita, and Sweet ChiliChicken with roasted chicken, sweet chili sauce and mozzarella.
Salvatore’s will also offer specialty cocktails to pair with the many flatbreads including:
Basil Berry Martini ($11) with New Amsterdam vodka, St. Germaine, lime juice, and fresh strawberries.
Boston Sunset ($9) with New Amsterdam red berry and orange vodkas, Bacardi dragon berry rum, peach schnapps, orange juice and a splash of grenadine.
Brass Union is serving up some special all american apple pie :three mini apple pies, burnt sugar, ice cream, cinnamon, apple compote for the low price of $6. Brass Union is located at 70 Union Square, Somerville – 617.623.9211 – www.brassunion.com
Head on over to Fenway for one last pre-season look at this soon to be bustling area, and bite into a slice of Oreo Cookie Pie at Cask ‘n Flagon;this cake batter ice cream and Oreo cookies creations adds special touches like raspberry swirls and chocolate fudge for 62 Brookline Avenue, Boston – 617.536.4840 – www.casknflagon.com.
The Tip Tap Room at 138 Cambridge Street, Boston, has a very special sweet treat Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pie on the menu in honor of Pi Day. Chef Poe’s family recipe, this $8 delight is the ideal end to a fulfilling meal. 857.350.3344 – www.thetiptaproom.com
All of Legal Sea Foods locations will be serving up an area classic, Boston Cream Pie. Making it a little extra special they’ll be incorporating achocolate sauce, rum caramel sauce, and toffee almond crunch into this $7.95 must try dessert.
They’ll also transport you to the tropics with the sweet/tart combo of their Key Lime Pie. Servedwith a side of lime cream, and pomegranate sauce for $7.95 this is one dessert you won’t want to skip.www.legalseafoods.com
Give Amazing Matriarch a shout out on social media by using the #AmazingMatriarch with your best pics on this or any National Pi Day Adventure.
Find our Facebook page: Amazing Matriarch; Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Twitter:@AMatriarch
Before I had children, an occasional night out on the town wasn’t a problem because I could lay around and sleep the whole next day to nurse a hangover. But I quickly learned after having my first child that having a hangover as a mom is just NOT an option.
On the rare occasion that I do overindulge, it’s not the end of the world as I have found a solution, and it’s one that does not require downing 2 gallons of water before I go to bed to wake up hangover free. This little secret was bestowed to me by a friend of a friend (Thanks Jen!) and I haven’t experienced a hangover since.
My hangover eraser is a magic potion readily available at the local grocery store: Pedialyte. Made for babies and kids when they are dehydrated from a loss of vital nutrients and minerals as a result of the stomach flu, Pedialyte works wonders on dehydrated adults too. This cure is very effective; it has been tried and tested over and over by family and friends. It’s so effective in fact, that I know many responsible adults who now carry Pedialyte packets in their purses so they’re ready to fight their way out of a night of too much fun at a moment’s notice.
Here’s what you do:
PurchasePedialyte Oral Electrolyte Powderpackets (you will get 8 in one box). If you can’t find it locally, you can get it online. After a night out, take one packet and mix it with one cup of water (I usually pour it into a 16.9 fl oz bottle of water). Mix it together (or shake it up if it’s in a bottle). Take 2 over-the-counter pain relievers and end your night with this one last drink.
Start rehydrating yourself before you go to bed, get a better night’s sleep, wake up rested and rehydrated. You may feel a little groggy the next day but you’ll be headache free and functional. A must for busy moms that still want to let off some steam every once and a while.
Try it and see if it works for you! We want to hear about your experience.
Enjoy 3.14159 Day on 3/14/15 with 31.4% at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge. March 14th is Pi Day, a time for math lovers, and those who like any excuse for a party, to celebrate.
Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159. Get in on the Pi Day action by taking advantage of a great hotel deal.
In recognition of Pi Day, The Charles on Harvard Square is holding a one of a kind FLASH SALE. The sale takes place on Friday March 13th from 9am-5pm. What a better way to celebrate 3/14 than to be in Harvard Square with scholars and intellectuals alike at the Charles Hotel; the ‘smart’ place to stay. Not available to spend Pi Day at the Charles Hotel, no problem! This offer is available for travel dates: March 14th – May 11th ensuring you get your stay at Pi Day prices.
To add a bit of fun trivia, 3/14 was also the day Albert Einstein was born.
“The only source of knowledge is experience.” – Albert Einstein
Experience the Charles and follow the pattern; make a smart decision to book a stay at this smart hotel!
For most of us with young children, vacations aren’t really vacations at all. It is a lot of work to pack up a family and relocate. On top of that, you are dealing with schedule changes (especially for little ones under 5) and unfortunately most of the time you likely end your days with screaming children and a big pounding migraine.
A ski vacation is braving it especially with subzero temperatures, lugging ski equipment, getting the children to and from the car and answering the endless chorus of are we there yet from the back seat. Most sane people would avoid this at all costs. Even though it’s a whole lot of work, (and more if, like the AM team, you choose to head to the mountain mid-week, packing 4 kids in one car, while your husbands stay home to work, meeting you for the weekend) you will have fun at Waterville Valley.
After a whole lot of huffing and puffing, and equipment lugging, Waterville Valley Resort made it all worth the trouble, placing smiles on all of our faces (including the husbands who joined us at the end).
Check out Waterville Valley with your family:
Only a 2 hour ride from Boston, this quaint mountain resembles an idyllic vintage-esque ski mountain and village. With 50 trails, this mountain has it all. Most of its trails are attractive to the intermediate skier, about 15% is dedicated to beginners and 22% is geared towards the advanced skier. There really is something for everyone. Best of all, lift lines move at record speed, eliminating the long waits that you’ll find at larger mountains in the north east, and allowing you to do what you’re there for-ski.
The mountain is extremely manageable with children. Drive right up to the base of the mountain and leave your car for a few minutes while you get your ski gear and family situated. Everything that you need is located at the base of the mountain-lift tickets, kids camps, daycare, lodge, ski shop, and bar. It is very easy to navigate to and from the buildings there with entrances that allow you to set up your gear closest to the lift you are interested in riding.
There is a real community and family feel to this mountain. You won’t find a bunch of hot shot 20 something’s buzzing down the mountain after a few too many; instead you’ll find yourself surrounded by parents just as eager to keep their kids safe as you are with yours. Everyone is helpful, and lifts on the lower mountain are slowed regularly to assist new skiers as they get on and off.
The staff at this mountain is incredible and really adds to the experience. Everyone is very friendly and always showing a smile on their face (hard to come by anywhere now a days). Even when the temperature plummets to -34 with the wind chill, everyone is happy to help.
I most likely should not bring my phone skiing, but it is always by my side and is my lifeline when my kids are not. Of course, each day I had phone issues that the staff of Waterville pleasantly helped me with.
Day 1 – My phone was running low on battery and the wonderful staff at the bag check/info desk were kind enough to let me charge my phone up to full power as my son was in ski school and I really wanted power in case of an emergency.
Day 2 – While managing my hungry kids and husband, I misplaced my phone in the cafeteria. Again the wonderful staff really came to the rescue to help me locate my phone. Even after I gave up hope, they came upstairs to find me to offer another suggestion. Luckily, I found it; in a pocket that I had previously checked (thanks mommy brain).
Two mom’s who have not seen skis in 3 and 5 years = rusty skiers in need of a full day to regain some confidence. So, we put our boys (ages 4 and 5) in a full day of ski school and let them have fun without us (while we did the same). It was wonderful. They really enjoyed skiing with their instructors, hot chocolate in between runs and meeting/playing with the other kids in their ski group. They were actually asking to go back to ski school for the rest of the trip. I personally despised ski school when I was younger, I couldn’t wait for my parents to pick me up. So the fact that 2 boys wanted to go back to Waterville’s school even after skiing on the coldest day of the year was proof enough for me.
One name, Mike Furgal! Mike was rated top 100 ski instructors for ski magazine. This is the second time that I have done a private lesson for my 2 year old with him. Seeing as how 2 year olds do not have much of an attention span at this age, it is a miracle that Mike can keep her engaged and happy for an hour session. Introducing her to the sport and allowing her to get comfortable on skis at a young age is allowing us to get out of the house for a fun family winter activity.
We popped into the rental shop so Jess could rent skis for her 2 year old. Everyone was super helpful and quick. We were in and out of the shop in 10 minutes.
Apres Ski Entertainment – All Ages
Head to Buckets for Apres Ski, especially on Saturdays when the live band allows the adults to unwind with a few spirits and snacks while kids can grab a seat in the adjoining room for complimentary movie night as well as s’mores on the deck overlooking the mountain. Our 2, 4 and 5 year olds were splitting their time between the movie and the dance floor. After a long day of skiing, our kids were happy and distracted instead of miserable and tired. Allowing us to hang out until 7pm when we could pop them in the car without worry of sleeping en-route home. And we all know that happy kids = happy parents!
Check out some fun deals that Waterville Valley is featuring in the month of March and April.
Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17th – $17 lift tickets.
April Fools Day, April 1st – $1 lift tickets (and this isn’t a joke).
– Helping you find some family fun outdoors even in the middle of winter, Thia
Saturday February 22nd is National Margarita Day. Head out for a night (or day) on the town and follow this special Boston margarita crawl to pay homage to this sacred cocktail of tequila, triple sec and lime. For some extra fun, slip into character by wearing your best sombrero and poncho.
Legal Harborside in the seaport district is featuring 2 extra special margarita’s:
Top Shelf Margarita – Patrón Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, lime cordial, lemon juice ($13; available on the first floor)
Top Deck Margarita – LSF barrel-selected Corazon Anejo Tequila, triple sec, lime (single – $10; small – $28 large – $55; available on the rooftop)
One of each, please!
Walk across the street to Legal Test Kitchen (LTK) and try the Mango Margarita. For $10 you can wet your pallet with Pueblo Viejo Blanco Tequila, Bols Triple Sec, mango nectar, lime, agave. This delicious mango concoction will be also be featured at all Legal Sea Food locations.
A little taste of the tropics in the middle of winter.
Grab a ride across town to Haru at the Prudential. Sip on the Green Tea Margarita ($13) consisting of Patrón Silver Tequila, Cointreau, sweet green tea powder and sour mix.
Indulge in this delightfully different drink on National Margarita Day.
Finsh the day with a quick walk over to Poe’s Kitchen at the Rattlesnake on Boylston Street. Sip on their spicy winter spin on the day’s drink of honor- a Cranberry Jalapeno Margarita for $12 which consists of Patrón Añejo, muddled jalapeños & cranberries, Drambuie, Rattlesnake margarita mix.
Give Amazing Matriarch a shout out on social media by using the #AmazingMatriarch with your best pics on this or any National Margarita Day margarita crawl (or margarita) you create.
Find our Facebook page: Amazing Matriarch; Instagram: amazingamtriarch or Jess on Twitter: @10bestjess
“I drink to make other people more interesting.” – Ernest Hemingway