New Year 2015: The Year Of ME, and Other Big Plans

2015 the year of me
Where has the time gone? I really don’t know how I have been so busy and yet told you about absolutely none of it…I’m a bad Healthy Working Mom! But, on the bright side, I have a whole years worth of great stuff to share…and I will…I promise…I really mean it this time.

So, yeah, that’s what this New Year is about. ME! “What?” you might ask…”Aren’t you supposed to be all about the kids and family and all the things a mom has to do and making sure the house is perfect and keeping fit and dieting right and wearing nice clothes and working on creating the most amazing and super model citizens there can be and…?” Well, yes. I will be doing all of that. But I will also be REALLY taking more time for myself and focussing a little less on being supermom…and I’m not capitalizing that as it is not EVER going to happen and doesn’t deserve my recognition that it is a name…(storms off in a self-indulgent huff).

Quick recap:

Button had leukemia. Button is now a five year survivor….best thing EVER EVER EVER!


Hubby and I have had MAJOR problems in terms of staying together…apparently that is what often happens after a child had a life-threatening illness. We are still together and working hard to stay that way.

Peanut made the ALL-Star team in Baseball and is now in the Babe Ruth league.

We got a new dog, Pepper. He is a rescue from a puppy mill and a real mess. But we love him. And yes, he is eating kale!

Puppy Mill Rescue Dog

Nana H is very sick with Lupus, Fibromyalgia and Myeloma. We are finding the distance between Connecticut and England so hard to cope with. We hope to visit her in the summer, but who knows if it will be possible. Perhaps two of us will go.

Both boys are at the Magnet Middle School and doing well. Button is learning to be more social but still misses a lot of school due to illness. If something is going around, he will catch it…poor kid!

And now about ME…I have a new business! I am still teaching full time but I began creating jewelry to help me stay sane during my son’s treatment. What do you know? People actually love to buy it!! I’m as surprised as you, but I decided to turn it into something that gives back to those fighting cancer. Butterfly Warriors Jewelry donates $2 of every sale to a charity (stated on the website). Button even helped me design a couple of the pieces. My work is getting increasingly popular and I LOVE what I’m doing. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! I now have a focus that is productive and helps others…what a great feeling! I am not receiving help or charity…something I hated during treatment but truly appreciated. Pop on over and take a look at Butterfly Warriors Jewelry. There is a blog too! The website is very much a work in progress so if you like my jewelry but want to see more, I do have a LOT more on my ETSY site here.

bW agate necklace

What are we looking forward to this year? Well, I’m hoping we help Button cope with his emotional issues as a survivor. We have a long road to go with this but we are moving in the right direction. I will be posting about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the coming weeks.

Coping with pre-teen boys means my wisdom as a mommy has diminished somewhat. They don’t eat food anymore, just junk (my definition of junk anyway), and they have turned into lazy slobs. I will be telling you all about my mission to reclaim dominion of my household. New dishes to try, revamped schedule to keep the boys on track with their chores…all this needs to be done NOW!

Juggling a small business, family and working full time is not an easy feet. I will share my highs and lows with you along with the tips and tricks I pick up along the way.

So, just a taster of things to come in the next few weeks/months…

    Great new healthy eating ideas
    How to schedule pre-teens in so they feel they are in charge (a little)
    Cleaning tips to brighten your day (and house)
    Juggling business, home, family and health
    and much more….

      Oh, and you will be hearing a lot about how I’m helping ME…in many, many ways. As I always say, “A healthy mom makes for a happy home.” And it’s the year of ME. I aim to be happy and healthy so my kiddies and hubby are happy too.


Teaching Children about Chinese New Year

2004 Lantern Festival in Nagasaki, Japan - Lan...

Image via Wikipedia

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Ca!

Today marks the beginning of the Year of the Dragon.  The dragon is a symbol of good fortune and power and it is a revered year. Many consider those who are born in the year of the dragon,  to be innovative, passionate people who are colorful, confident and fearless.  It is a special year indeed!

Last year, Peanut celebrated the Chinese New Year in School: they study China in third grade.  The class moms and teachers put on a Chinese feast and taught the students how to use chopsticks correctly (almost).  All the children were then presented with red envelopes with money in them: hóngbāo in Mandarin.  The red symbolizes fire which can drive away bad luck.  The money is a bonus…and serves as a gift to children and unwed adults.  Red lanterns adorned the school cafeteria to represent the Lantern Festival held on the fifteenth day of the New year.  These Lantern festivals often culminate in the dance of the dragon.

I expose my children to as many different cultures as possible.  Today they have a special craft awaiting them after school.  We are making dragons.  This craft is relatively simple and, as we build our dragons, we will learn a little about what they symbolize.  I know they will be delighted to discover the Chinese consider it good luck to make a lot of noise, hence the fireworks, to drive out bad spirits.  We will be making loud noises tonight!


  • Colored paper
  • Scissors
  • Crayons or markers
  • Glue, tape
  • 2 wooden barbecue skewers (or 2 straws or disposable chopsticks)
  • Optional glitter, feathers
  1. Draw the head and tail of a dragon on a piece of paper or card stock.
  2. Cut the head and tail out and decorate with bright colors.
  3. Optional: Decorate with glitter and feathers.
  4. Fold a piece of paper in half the long way. Cut along the fold line, making two long rectangles.
  5. Fold each piece of paper up like an accordion. Glue or tape the two pieces together, forming one long piece that will be the dragon’s body.
  6. Glue or tape one end of the body to the head. Glue or tape the other end of the body to the tail.
  7. Tape one skewer (or straw) to the head and the other skewer (or straw) onto the tail.
  8. You now have a dragon that can dance for Chinese New Year.
Children’s Books:

A New Year’s Reunion” by Yu Li-Qiong; illustrated by Zhu Cheng Liang. $15.99. Age 5 and older.

A picture book telling the tale of Maomao, a young Chinese girl.  her father returns from his job far away for Chinese New Year.  The story tells how the two characters make traditional rice balls, watch Chinese dragons dance, and enjoy time together before saying goodbye again.

Dumpling Days” by Grace Lin. $15.99. Age 9 and older.

Part of a series, this book takes the main character, Pacy Lin to her ancestral home in Taiwan.  Having grown up in New York, the excitement of visiting her family and getting the chance to learn Chinese painting, changes to Pacy having to face up to the challenges of a foreign country.  She cannot speak the language, she does not like the food, and she has difficulty making new friends.  She has a month to either suffer though, or find out more about her self.

From the Inside Flap:
“In a book that is itself a celebration, Demi explains the rituals and ideas behind the Chinese New Year festival. The last 15 days of the old year are spent cleaning and preparing (‘Wash your hair and get a new haircut. Pay the debts that you owe and collect what is owed to you!’). On the eve of the new moon, a special feast is prepared. . . . The first 15 days of the new year are spent celebrating with lion dances, firecrackers, and other activities.

For many more Chinese New Year Ideas, head on over to Jeanette’s Healthy Living.

Organizing For the New Year

Source: via Gems113  on Pininterst.

Thinking about the New Year, I am plotting a redesign of my entryway. I have a relatively large space which gets overrun with bags, shoes and jackets.  Then, to add to the mayhem, I have random toys, mail and keys to deal with.  I do have a lovely Pottery Barn pin-board with hooks…but it just doesn’t cut it.  There is mess everywhere.  Okay, I admit I do have to train the troops better…they are all slobs!

I rather like the idea pictured above.  The backpack issue would be resolved, and there are baskets for all the junk that accumulates on my tiny table near the door.  Some adaptations to the bench would mean I could have a station for shoes also.  The height is perfect for Peanut and Button….no excuses about not being able to reach!  To top it off (sorry for the pun) the shelf on top is perfect for me to add a little of my taste with a display for the season (I do like to change things up between summer and winter).

Of course I have the hardest job to do first – getting Hubby to change the paint color as I really dislike the one we just put on…you know, the one I chose…wish me luck!

Christmas Binge!

Christmas gifts.

Having danced in public on stage, enjoyed a few weeks of well-fitting clothes, and generally satisfied that I looked pretty good, I did it again:  I blew it all over Christmas!  Why did I do this?  What was I thinking?  Why don’t my tight jeans fit anymore?  Was it worth it?

To be honest, it was worth it…provided I can get back to where I was soon.  And, as far as why I seemed to let it all go?  Well, there are a million reasons for that.  Work has been more stressful than I can ever remember of late.  The students are lovely, I love teaching, but the changes being put in place often make me feel like the powers that be had severe ADD and can’t make up their mind what they want us to do.  On top of that, there are family members with ill-health, and then there is the general craziness of Christmas…no need to go into THAT!

Being a working mommy who is a teacher does give me one fabulous perk….a week off to enjoy the kids!  (My kids, that is.)  Christmas Eve was a blur of getting things ready, doing ALL the food shopping for Christmas, wrapping most of the ridiculous amount of stuff Santa was bringing, going to a friend’s house for Chanukah, and baking cookies for Santa with Button (Peanut wanted to stay late at the party)!

English: Christmas sweets in Poland

Christmas Day was a joyous festival of the oohs! and ahhs!  Of gift opening, roasting and glazing, and family cheer.  I was a happy mommy, my family was happy, and we had fun.  Tired but happy, we wished everyone a Merry Christmas and waved them off until we get together in the new year.

So I rushed around, laughed, played and had fun….I also ate WAY too much chocolate, cake, tiramisu, and roast lamb with mashed potatoes filled with Stilton!

The jeans can take a break,  I am ready to enjoy the rest of the week: visiting the city to show the boys the tree and lights, seeing TinTin at the movies, and probably eating way too much of things one only indulges in over Christmas and New Year !  Yippee!!!