The Lost Art of Charm


I just read a terrific article entitled “10 Genuine Ways Anyone Can Be Exceptionally
Charming” that really struck a chord with me. It is so rare to meet a truly
charming person. And it is a pleasure to spend time with them. I think we all would benefit greatly from implementing a few of these charming techniques, such as asking open ended questions and being genuinely interested in others.

When I went to a party this weekend, I was asked one question over the course of several hours. My husband experienced the same thing. Now we didn’t just sit quietly in a corner. We made small talk and asked endless questions.

I enjoy learning things about people, but it is exhausting when
you are the only one asking all the questions. There needs to be some give and
take for a conversation to be truly enjoyable.

Sadly we often find this to be the case, everyone is talking and no one
is listening. I think because of our psychology major background, my husband
and I are more aware of social interactions. They are important to us
and we are alarmed at the lack of social skills we are seeing.

We are trying to teach our boys, who are growing up in the generation
that prefers texting over talking, the lost art of conversation and charm.

Teaching them to ask questions, really listen to people, and also
share a little of themselves so connections can be made. You can be in
a room full of people and still feel lonely. Trust me I know,
and I bet you do too.

If you want to discover how to be exceptionally charming click the
following link to read more:

Lessons From Madame Chic

Book CoverI truly enjoyed this charming book by Jennifer Scott! I am fascinated by French culture and loved her colorful descriptions of life with Family Chic.

Jennifer also seems like a lovely person who I would enjoy having a cup of coffee with at a cute little French cafe. If only she lived on the East Coast!

I especially like the section in the book on clothing. Jennifer talks about the importance of having a ten item wardrobe. Now at first I thought this is just crazy!

She goes on to explain that French women have a few beautiful outfits that look good on them which they wear in heavy rotation. Whereas here in America we have closets full of clothes and nothing to wear.

This really resonated with me! I too have trouble finding something to wear despite a closet full of clothes. Could it really be that simple? That getting rid of most of my clothes would give me a lot more choices. I had to see for myself.

I pulled out all my clothes as Jennifer recommended and started trying things on. Many of the clothes no longer fit or just didn’t look good on me. Sometimes the color or the style didn’t look right. I also started looking for pieces that actually went well together. Needless to say, I had a bag full of clothes to get rid of when I was done.

One of the things I love the most is that my clothes are not as crowded in my closet. I can actually see what is in there! It is easier to find an outfit that looks nice and I can also see what pieces I am missing. Jennifer mentions the importance of having quality verses quantity. Unfortunately, I was not able to scale down to just a ten item wardrobe, but Jennifer says this is okay.

I really love the idea of French minimalism. I always thought that buying more new clothes was the answer. Thank you Jennifer for helping me look at my wardrobe in a new light!


A Fabulous Retro Website

The Glamorous HousewifeI just discovered a fabulous website that I love, The Glamorous Housewife! It has a retro feel and provides inspiration for anyone who wants to add a little more glamour to housekeeping.

I really enjoy Bethany’s vintage pictures and posts on cooking, entertaining, fashion and domestic design. The 50′s and 60′s have always been very appealing to me. It was a time when women wore pretty dresses, pearls and aprons.

For years I have enjoyed being a stay at home Mom, but it is very easy to get a little too comfortable being home. Why get dressed up and put on makeup if know one will see you? It was also hard to find the time when my boys were little.

However, I find I feel better and get more accomplished if I do take the time to put on something nice. I also just so happen to adore skirts, so if it’s warm out, most of the time you will find me in a skirt or dress.

I live in a pretty rural area where most people don’t dress up and mainly wear jeans. Back in suburbia where I grew up, dressing up was the norm. And of course being a teacher, I needed to look the part. But after being home in the country, I often felt like I didn’t fit in when I dressed up just to go out shopping.

Despite this, I am learning to embrace my inner girl! I try not to worry what other people think and wear clothes that make me feel good. It is comforting to see that there are others such as Bethany who feel the same way!


Summer Science Experiments

Book CoverYesterday we made bombs. No not the dangerous kind, but rather small plastic bag bombs that exploded in our driveway with a loud bang!

You simply need to make a paper towel packet full of baking soda to drop into a sandwich bag full of vinegar. Seal the bag, walk away and wait for the gasses formed by the chemical reaction to cause the bag to explode! A very fun, yet simple experiment to do with your kids.

Our goal is to try out a new experiment from The Book Of Totally Irresponsible Science almost every day. This book has some daring experiments that my older boys will like, such as making static electric slime and a cola geyser, and also teaches the scientific concept which the teacher in me loves.

I know it’s summer, but I don’t want my boys brains to go completely to mush!

Chocolate Pavlova

Chocolate Pavlova

What is Pavlova you say? Well, Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. A chef in New Zealand created the dish for Pavlova when she visited the country on her 1926 world tour.

This particular recipe has a crisp chocolaty meringue crust, with a chocolate and whipped cream topping. Our good friend made this for a lovely summer party we attended last night.

It was absolutely delicious! Also, quite festive since she topped it with blackberries and raspberries. Red, white and blue for the upcoming 4th of July!

I just love trying something new and unusual. You can check out the recipe at PureWow.

Summer Gratitude


Today I am grateful for…

  • Planting pretty flowers with my Mom at the lake. We need more color and beauty in our lives!  
  • My son being invited to a fun end of the year party at an old farmhouse with good friends, good food and a winding river for swimming.
  • Lovely new summer magazines to browse through for ideas and inspiration while relaxing outside in the sun!
  • Being able to order yummy pizza from a local restaurant when I just don’t feel like cooking on a warm summer night.
  • A summer solstice celebration with the guys that involved catching fireflies and lighting sparklers after dark. So looking forward to relaxing summer days with my boys.

To Russia With Love


The Olympic games have begun in Russia. Maybe it’s because I am of Polish and Ukrainian descent, but I am fascinated by Russia. I especially love the colorful St. Basil’s cathedral that looks like something out of Candy Land. It was built in 1555 on orders from Ivan the Terrible. I so hope to be able to visit it someday.

I am also intrigued by the story of the Russian Czar Nicholas Romanov, his daughter Anastasia and his family that were all brutally murdered. I love the beautiful wooden Matryoshka nesting dolls where each one fits so perfectly inside the other. Russian painted eggs or jeweled Faberge eggs are another beautiful Russian creation.

Russia is the largest country on earth which spans 11 time zones, has over 40 national parks and is home to Lake Baikal, the largest freshwater lake in the world. It’s a place where grandmothers are called babushkas, people eat beet soup and chess is a national obsession. Although Russia has had a dark past, it also has moments of great beauty.

The Boy Who Loved Math

Book CoverThis is a wonderful children’s picture book about the incredible life of mathematician Paul Erdos. At the young age of four, Paul could calculate the number of seconds you had been alive in his head.

I love the colorful, fun illustrations! This story presents many interesting math concepts in an appealing way.

It surprised me that I have never heard of this fascinating, brilliant man who contributed so much to the world of math. I really wish this book had been around when I was a child.

As a young girl, I hated math! I was led to believe that most girls just were not good at it. There seems to be a widespread belief that you are either born good at math or not. I now see this is simply not true.

Anyone can become better at math with a little desire, time, and practice. It is so important we convey this message to children. Math should be a part of every day life. It needs to be presented in a meaningful, fun way that children can understand from an early age.

This is a great book for younger and older children to enjoy! You can also check out the author’s website for links to math activities.

Welcome October!


As Anne of Green Gables said “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers!” I just love this time of year in New England. The leaves are turning beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow. And soon it will time for fires in the wood stove. Apple crisp and pumpkin bread will be baking in the oven.

I have always enjoyed decorating with the changing seasons. There are little orange lights draped on a large plant in the corner of the living room. I have brought out the fall colored table cloths and candles. Mini scarecrows and pumpkins are scattered around the house. Pretty mums grace our steps and add a splash of color.

Welcome October!

Chocolate Bread Pudding


I just have to tell you about this delicious bread pudding I had at my friends fabulous party the other night. It was amazing~ the ultimate comfort food! The picture and recipe below are both borrowed from the Tupperware website.

I have always thought of bread pudding as being very old fashioned and not too exciting. It is not something I would have chosen to make… before sampling this yummy dessert.

Bread pudding has it’s origins in the 11th century, as a way for frugal cooks to use up stale and leftover bread. Basically, the dish is made by layering bits of bread and  pouring a custard sauce over before baking. The possibilities are endless, because you can vary the type of bread and add different ingredients of your choice.

 The lovely hostess baked the bread pudding in Tupperware’s new ultrapro ovenware which is made out of plastic and pretty cool. She also sprinkled chocolate chips on top before baking for extra chocolaty goodness. We enjoyed the bread pudding warm with a chocolate syrup drizzled on top.

My boys really loved this yummy dessert! I like that the recipe calls for six eggs and lots of milk, as I feel all that protein is good for my growing boys and somehow helps make it more nutritious. :)

~ Tupperware’s Chocolate Bread Pudding ~

(serves 12)

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. Simple Indulgence™ Cinnamon & Vanilla
6 eggs
1 loaf Challah bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine cream, milk and sugar in Chef Series™ 2 1/2 Qt. / 2.5L Covered Nonstick Saucepan. Heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved; remove from heat and cool slightly. Add chocolate and Simple Indulgence™ Cinnamon & Vanilla; stir until chocolate completely melts and is blended in. Break eggs into Prep Essentials™ Mix-N-Stor® Plus Pitcher; gradually beat in the warm chocolate to temper the eggs. Place bread cubes into a buttered 9″ square baking pan. Pour chocolate mixture over the bread, pressing down to fully coat the bread. Bake 45-60 minutes until center is set and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center.

Slightly cool and lightly dust with powdered sugar just before serving.