A Madison Mom http://www.amadisonmom.net A guide for parents living in and around Madison, NJ. Tue, 30 Aug 2016 14:28:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Meet Melody! The New American Girl Doll Embodies The Spirit And Style of Motown http://www.amadisonmom.net/melody-american-girl-doll-motown/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/melody-american-girl-doll-motown/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 13:00:28 +0000 http://www.amadisonmom.net/?p=15664 Hot off the presses, it’s Melody, the new American Girl Doll! On August 25, 2016, American Girl’s newest historical character Melody Ellison, civil rights believer, chorus leader, and daughter of Detroit, hits the scene and inspires girls and their families to be a force for positive growth and change. With hope, enthusiasm, and a solidRead More

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Hot off the presses, it’s Melody, the new American Girl Doll!

On August 25, 2016, American Girl’s newest historical character Melody Ellison, civil rights believer, chorus leader, and daughter of Detroit, hits the scene and inspires girls and their families to be a force for positive growth and change. With hope, enthusiasm, and a solid sense of fairness, 9-year-old Melody provides a glimpse of life during the 1960s—a significant decade for the civil rights movement in America and a time of great energy, optimism, challenges, and change. With the struggle for equality and justice still prevalent today, Melody bridges the past and present for girls and shows them how ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they come together to make a meaningful difference.

I got my first American Girl Doll when I was eleven, and if Melody was on the market then, WOW, I would have wanted her. A civil rights activist AND she comes with her own recording studio? Strong and talented, hot dang, that was the kind of doll I would have begged from my parents. And she’s adorable as anything to boot. Look at that fabulous 1960s style!

Melody Doll-LR

Melody is smart, strong, loving, and embodies the Motown style with lovely dark brown eyes and black flipped hair that your own girls (or you, of course) can style yourselves, plus several authentic 1960s doll outfits and historically inspired apparel for girls. Numerous accessories round out the play experience, including a Motown-inspired recording studio that plays and records music, a Melody block party set, and other items that bring her 1960s-era world to life. I mean, can you IMAGINE your own girls in one of Melody’s outfits? Beyond cute.

Melody's Block Party Doll Set-HR

The crux of Melody’s story, of course, stems not from her style but her message of strength and empowerment. In her books, Melody’s family encounters racism, an incredibly topical subject. Through Melody, girls of 2016 can learn about the history of the civil rights movement, and how Melody is asked to sing her first solo at church, she’s determined to find the right song and make it perfect. She’s inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and influenced by her oldest sister, a college student who is taking action to make things fair for all African Americans. As Melody experiences discrimination herself, and as she hears about the atrocities happening throughout the country, she discovers that her voice is her mightiest strength and, when joined with the voices of many, it can bring about monumental changes.

Melody's Recording Studio-LR

The stories were written very carefully and thoughtfully with the age of the readers in mind from the minds of NAACP board members and members from the National Museum of African American History in Detroit, the city that Melody calls home. Will you welcome Melody into your home? She might have to join mine. I think she’s beyond wonderful. What do you think?

Starting August 25, the Melody doll and related products are available at americangirl.com; at all American Girl retail locations nationwide; through American Girl’s catalogue; and at American Girl specialty boutiques at select Indigo™ and Chapters™ in Canada. The Melody books can also be purchased through retail and online booksellers.

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saltwatershop http://www.amadisonmom.net/saltwatershop/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/saltwatershop/#respond Mon, 29 Aug 2016 12:18:39 +0000 http://madison.momagama.com/?p=12618 I’m so excited to tell you about saltwatershop!  If you have daughters I just know you’re going to want to check them out.  Cathy Langford is a local mom.  She founded saltwatershop to help young women find confidence in their own beauty, encouraging wellness & fitness along the way.  You can find them online at saltwatershop.com, and youRead More

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Salt-Water-logo

I’m so excited to tell you about saltwatershop!  If you have daughters I just know you’re going to want to check them out.  Cathy Langford is a local mom.  She founded saltwatershop to help young women find confidence in their own beauty, encouraging wellness & fitness along the way.  You can find them online at saltwatershop.com, and you can contact Cathy by email at info@saltwatershop.com.  And… you can find them on social media at instagram and facebook.

1. Tell us a little about your business.

saltwatershop promotes self confidence for young women ages 10 and up – offering educational workshops on beauty products and tips, fitness, nutrition, skincare plus our own beauty products and jewelry

2. When did you start out and what is your philosophy?

We launched our website and workshop series in June 2014. our philosophy is that the happiest girls are the prettiest – we can get happy when we take care of our bodies through fun exercise and better nutrition. We get happy learning beauty tips and how to use and apply cosmetics appropriately. We think the beauty industry has become overwhelming (department store counters are intimidating at times and even your basic Walgreens has so many brands and choices its hard to know where to start). We felt there are not salons focused on making young women feel at home.

3. What made you decide to open your business?

When my oldest daughter was 12, I took her to a salon for a haircut, the haircut was fine but the overall experience was disappointing. The salon I use I felt was too expensive and too adult for her to feel relaxed in. I later took my 10 year old daughter to a kids salon which felt way too juvenile for her – with giraffes painted on the walls. I felt they needed a place that specialized in young women. I did not want a place that was too serious, glamorous, or encouraged rhinestones and glitz or anything princess. The concept for the saltwatershop came from our love of the ocean and my daughters interest in surfing. As I paged through their surfing mags, I was stunned by the women surfers who were so beautiful with little makeup and so strong and fit from working out and surfing. Real beauty is a natural thing that grows when your confidence in yourself grows. So we started a workshop series to explore different topics young women were interested in.

4. Please tell us a little about services you provide.

Online we offer cosmetics and jewelry…locally we host workshops on nutrition, skincare, navigating social issues, makeup and eyebrows, yoga, etc. Our most popular workshop was the Bath Fizzies Workshop, where we created our own Bath Fizzies and Salt Soaks. We hire experts to lead these workshops.

5. What is the best part about owning a local business?

Having an outlet for creative ideas and honestly, doing good things for girls.

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No Tutu Required http://www.amadisonmom.net/no-tutu-required/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/no-tutu-required/#respond Fri, 26 Aug 2016 12:12:21 +0000 http://www.amadisonmom.net/?p=14817 When I was in kindergarten, my friend asked me to join her ballet class. By the time I was convinced to join, she decided to quit. To my parents’ surprise, I was determined to still do the class, despite the fact that I knew no one in it. Every Monday afternoon, I’d walk three houses downRead More

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When I was in kindergarten, my friend asked me to join her ballet class. By the time I was convinced to join, she decided to quit. To my parents’ surprise, I was determined to still do the class, despite the fact that I knew no one in it. Every Monday afternoon, I’d walk three houses down from school to Mrs. Stamus’ basement studio where I was introduced to the grace of ballet and beauty of classical music that, to this day, reminds me to stand up straighter and improve my posture. When the June recital came around, my parents were astonished that their ultra-shy daughter was actually on the stage, and I might have even cracked a smile, which I rarely did. That evening, my mom found me in tears. “I want to do it again!” I bawled. I was hooked. For the next 7 years, I took classes in that same basement. Each year, the ceiling seemed to lower as I grew, and eventually I could not fully extend my arms above my head in fifth position. Each June, I’d take the stage in the beautiful costumes lovingly handmade by my teacher, the same tutus and graceful skirts my daughter now wears as dress-up clothes whenever we visit my parents’ house.

ballerina

 

When my daughter was 2, she and my husband took a parent-child ballet class together every Saturday morning at the Madison Area YMCA. As I’d sign them up each session, I’d reminisce about my own years of dance while I scanned the adult dance class offerings. I’d contemplate the Adult Ballet class, but it just never seemed the right time to start again.

As I approached my big 4-0 birthday a few years ago, I was determined to rekindle some of my joys of childhood that had been lost in the day-to-day scramble of life. Just as I had when I was 5, I decided to join a ballet class even though I knew no one. This time, the leotards, tights, and tutus were replaced by yoga pants and workout shirts. I was warmly welcomed by a group of dancers – beginners through classically trained – who all just wanted to experience the grace and joy of ballet. Like myself, most of them had children in the local schools. Even the teacher, Dina Latoff, had kids at MJS, TJS, and CAS. Though she seriously danced ballet in high school, majored in dance in college, and danced professionally with the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company in NYC, she patiently worked with me as my body slowly remembered the positions, and with other students who were brand new to ballet. Beginners and long-time dancers, stood side by side at the barre each Wednesday morning, stretching, laughing, and dancing. I’ve now enjoyed the class for almost three years, but, to me, the class isn’t just one hour, once a week. I find myself practicing my pliés while picking up my kids’ socks from the floor, doing relevés while washing dishes, and, occasionally, even pirouetting across the kitchen floor.

Recently, we got some new hardwood floors in our house. The day before we moved our furniture into the empty room, I put on my ballet slippers, called my eight-year-old daughter upstairs, and handed her ballet shoes to her. For the next half hour, we held our own private class, leaping and pirouetting across the open floor. After we tired ourselves out, we both agreed that we wanted to do that again!

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Registration for the Madison Area YMCA fall session programs began on Tuesday, August 23 at 7:30PM for members both online and in person. Open registration begins on Tuesday, August 30 at 7:30PM in person only. All fall session programs begin on Monday, September 12, 2016. Ten-week sessions of Adult Ballet classes are held Tuesday evenings (9/13-11/15/16) from 7-8PM, or Wednesday mornings (9/14-11/16/16) from 9:15-10:15AM. Sessions are $100 for members; $236 from non-members. For more information, visit www.madisonareaymca.org

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5 Favorite Things In & Around Madison the Week of August 26 – September 1 http://www.amadisonmom.net/5-favorite-things-august-26-september-1/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/5-favorite-things-august-26-september-1/#respond Thu, 25 Aug 2016 15:46:50 +0000 http://www.amadisonmom.net/?p=15027 Okay, folks, we are in the home stretch of summer here. Just a little while until the little ones go back to school. So, here are 5 (okay 6!) things to do with your little ones this week: Saint Margaret’s Carnival Thursday, August 25th & Friday, August 26th from 6 – 11 pm,  Saturday, August 27Read More

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Okay, folks, we are in the home stretch of summer here. Just a little while until the little ones go back to school.

So, here are 5 (okay 6!) things to do with your little ones this week:

5 favorite things

Saint Margaret’s Carnival

Thursday, August 25th & Friday, August 26th from 6 – 11 pm,  Saturday, August 27 from 4 – 11 pm and Sunday, August 28 from 4 – 10 pm
Rides, Games, Latin & American Food, 50/50 Raffle
6 Sussex Avenue, Morristown
www.saintmargaretchurch.com

Pop Up Art Classes

Art Adventures with Mrs. C
Mrs. C is a community staple!  If your little ones have an inclination towards the artistic, definitely give her classes a try!
Monday, August 29, 30 & 31
12:30 – 1:30 pm
$35
www.artadventuresartstudio.com/pop-up-class.html

Pirate’s Cove at Mount Playmore

Someone JUST told me about this place today and I can’t wait to take my kids!
Splash park and playground.
Free admission. Open everyday from 10 am – 7 pm.
Pack a picnic, some bathing suits and sunscreen and let your kids run free and have some late summer fun.
30 Flanders Road, Budd Lake
http://rec.mountolivetownship.com

Randolph Lake

One of the only lake beaches in the area that is not exclusively for residents (except on weekends). It’s a great little lake for swimming, but they also have:
water spray feature
5 water aerators
beach house with changing rooms
paddle boat and canoe rentals
refreshment stand
picnic facilities for large and small groups
trained staff and lifeguards
swimming lessons
permanent docks for lap swimming
basketball court
$10 for non-residents
http://www.randolphnj.org/parks_and_recreation/beach_membership

Late Nights at Turtleback Zoo

Featuring Pokemon Go!
If your kiddos (or YOU) are into Pokemon Go, don’t miss this! There are 17 Pokestops and 1 Gym.
The zoo is open late (last admission is at 8 pm). The cafes are open late too, and the Savanna Cafe serves adult beverages too.
August 25 & 31
Adults $14, Children $10
http://turtlebackzoo.com

Summer Story Time @ Short Stories

We’re Going on a Trip! is the theme this month.
Saturday, August 27 @ 10 am
shortstoriesnj.com

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16 candles (and a whole lot of mason jars) http://www.amadisonmom.net/16-candles-whole-lot-mason-jars/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/16-candles-whole-lot-mason-jars/#respond Thu, 25 Aug 2016 12:02:32 +0000 http://www.amadisonmom.net/?p=15050 This Sunday, my amazing, thoughtful, brave and beautiful daughter turned 16. I can’t believe it! They say that 16 is a big deal birthday, so we wanted to do something big to celebrate. Here’s how it went. Day 5,843 Give birth to your baby. There will be stuff, like that whole birthing thing. And aRead More

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This Sunday, my amazing, thoughtful, brave and beautiful daughter turned 16. I can’t believe it! They say that 16 is a big deal birthday, so we wanted to do something big to celebrate. Here’s how it went.

Day 5,843

Give birth to your baby. There will be stuff, like that whole birthing thing. And a little, adorable bundle of joy. She’ll look at you and you’ll look at her. Take maybe 90 seconds to five minutes. Then, start planning her sweet sixteen birthday party.

Day 21

Realize thousands of days have passed and you haven’t done anything beyond acknowledge that yes, sixteenth birthday parties are a thing and that you have an almost sixteen year old. Sure, ideas were tossed around. She doesn’t want a big party. She’d like to go on a trip to Europe, which for a variety of reasons, won’t happen at this juncture. Make a final decision to do something with friends, as always, once school starts because a lot of them aren’t available in August. Plan for the usual family gathering on her actual birthday.

Day 20

Notice your daughter moping around the house and sighing about twice the normal amount. See her eyes shining as if brimming with tears as she texts a friend. Change plans to a bigger family gathering with more specialness to cheer her up.

Day 7

Okay, now it’s time get down to brass tacks. The great thing about having an older child is that she can help with this stuff. It actually makes her feel more mature which is something kids like! So, send your daughter off to plan away.

Day 6

Curse the day Pinterest was invented.

Day 3

It’s off to shop for the party. Another great thing about older kids is that you can leave them home alone! Shop at Pier 1, where you will find that summer has gone into the witness protection program and there are only halloween and fall foliage themes to be found. These do not fit with your daughter’s white and robin’s egg blue summer backyard party theme. You will catch a Charmander Pokemon there, so all is not lost.

Head to Michael’s, where there is still a full set of shelves dedicated to mason jars of all shapes and sizes and breathe a sigh of relief. Buy several of all types of mason jars.

so many mason jars

so many mason jars

Head to Bed Bath and Beyond. Snap up that Mason Jar themed lemonade dispenser. Get two while you are at it. One can be sangria! And the mason jars with handles and straws. And the mason jar themed tray of three for keeping those robin’s egg blue knives forks and spoons you’re getting at party city. Note as you load the car that this mason jar thing might be getting out of hand.

Day 2

With your kids along for the ride, because it’s never too early for halloween shopping, head to Party City. While the younger kids look for makeup, wigs, and stuff emblazoned with the Mets logo, head to the decorating aisles with your birthday daughter. Say yes to everything, in the manner of that Scoobie Doo/ladybug/Dora/Barbie party when she was four. Marvel at how her sense of style has matured and improved.

Buy two dozen balloons because that seems like something Gwyneth Paltrow would do in this moment.

Day 1

Buy foods on the menu you and your daughter jointly decided on. melon and proscuitto, polenta to make little cracker-like rounds with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes, a nice salad, shrimp and beef with vegetables for small kebabs, figs with ricotta and honey. This isn’t your four-year-old’s birthday party menu!

IMG_1383
Realize that sun dried tomatoes are no longer a thing. Everything that looks like it might be them is actually roasted peppers or craisins. The 1990s are officially, totally over for you now.

PARTY DAY!!!

Clean the house like this:

“I want this place looking like a new mediterranean fusion restaurant by noon!”

Entertain your husband’s helpful ideas about adding in sausage and pepper sandwiches as well as hot dogs and hamburgers for the kids. It is totally unacceptable to say “What the (word redacted because my mom said not to curse on blog posts) are you talking about?!?!?”

Have your visiting-from-out-of-town parents pick up the balloon order because it’s closer to their hotel than your house. Don’t yell at your mom if they aren’t ready. When they finally get here, realize that balloons are totally not what Gwyneth Paltrow would do and seem more like something that they do at a Chuck E Cheese birthday party for a four-year-old. But tie them to the backs of everyone’s chairs anyway.

Have a blast at the party. Enjoy the big smile on your daughter’s face and time with family and friends.

When it’s all over, feel like this.

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Farm to Feast: Peach & Blueberry Cobbler http://www.amadisonmom.net/farm-feast-peach-blueberry-cobbler/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/farm-feast-peach-blueberry-cobbler/#respond Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:29:58 +0000 http://www.amadisonmom.net/?p=14729 I loooove making cobblers. Mostly because you can be really sloppy with them. The fruit doesn’t have to be cut perfectly. I don’t have to roll out pie dough. And no matter what, they always look yummy and super rustic. Plus, a cobbler works with most fruits. Since we are in the peak season forRead More

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I loooove making cobblers. Mostly because you can be really sloppy with them. The fruit doesn’t have to be cut perfectly. I don’t have to roll out pie dough. And no matter what, they always look yummy and super rustic. Plus, a cobbler works with most fruits. Since we are in the peak season for both peaches and blueberries, I tried combining them for one fantastic cobbler!!

Ingredients:

6-8 ripe peaches, pealed, pitted and sliced
1 pint blueberries
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1/4 cup boiling water

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

In large bowl combine sliced peaches, blueberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, brown sugar, corn starch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Transfer to a large baking dish.

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In another large bowl, add flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in chunks of butter. Mix with your hands (or with a pastry mixer, but I prefer to use my hands because it’s one less thing to wash!), until combined but still a little clumpy.

IMG_6872

Add the boiling water and mix. Drop dough in clumps on top of fruit mixture and pat down to cover.

Bake, on top of a foil lined baking sheet (this will save your stove    from becoming drenched in gooey fruit and sugar) for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.

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Cool enough to enjoy with some vanilla ice cream and/or home made whipped cream!

Homemade Whipped Cream:

Heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until mixture is stiff enough to form peaks. Be careful not to over beat the mixture!

 

Enjoy!

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Will I see you at The Matinee Club? http://www.amadisonmom.net/will-i-see-you-at-the-matinee-club/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/will-i-see-you-at-the-matinee-club/#comments Wed, 24 Aug 2016 05:18:58 +0000 http://madison.momagama.com/?p=13791 Three years ago I was introduced to The Matinee Club, and it’s been my favorite once a month treats ever since.  I register, I put those monthly dates on my calendar, and then one Wednesday a month I head to the theater ALONE.  (Well… not alone.  I’m surrounded by other adults.  But… NO KIDS!!!)  I feelRead More

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Three years ago I was introduced to The Matinee Club, and it’s been my favorite once a month treats ever since.  I register, I put those monthly dates on my calendar, and then one Wednesday a month I head to the theater ALONE.  (Well… not alone.  I’m surrounded by other adults.  But… NO KIDS!!!)  I feel slightly decadent while I sit in the dark theater, watching a movie with adult themes, munching on popcorn that I don’t have to share with my kids!  It really is amazing how good it feels to totally tune out of all my “Mom Jobs” in the middle of a weekday.

Madison Matinee Club

 

One of my favorite things about Matinee Club?  I generally see a movie that I wouldn’t have otherwise ever seen. Even though I may not have rushed out to see them on my own, I really haveenjoyed every movie I saw.  Another favorite part of Matinee Club?  Walking out of the theater, and having a group of ladies (some I know, some I don’t) who automatically want to share movie opinions.

Some of the movies I saw last year:

Brooklyn
Joy
Mother’s Day
Love the Coopers
The Boss
The Intern
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 2

I”m hoping to get more of my busy mom friends to join me this year!

Registration for The Matinee Club is open for returning and new members.  You registered for your specific town and day… but if you can’t make your day (or you don’t like the movie choice), you’re welcome to visit any of the other theaters.  The theaters in Madison, Ridgewood, Montclair, and Milburn participate… and this year they’ve added Chatham.  Each month there are two current movies to choose from (occasionally 3), and the concession stands are open (although we’ve occasionally brought a bag lunch with us!).

Matinee Club runs from October to May and the shows begin at 11:30.  Membership is $85 for the year.

For more information you can visit The Matinee Club at their website or on Facebook!

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