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Pumpkin Carvings & Creations

What do you look forward to during the Halloween season?  Is it dressing up in costume? Is it the treats and candy?  Is it the spooky tales and haunted houses, or is it just another excuse to plan a party?  Well for me, it’s the pumpkin carvings and creations!  I love seeing the random carved pumpkins and pumpkin creations around the city, the rows of pumpkins lining the city squares, and checking out the glowing jack-o-lantern trails in the area.

This is the time of year when the parties and gatherings begin!  One of my favorite themed parties I’ve hosted is a pumpkin carving contest.  It’s fun for kids and adults, and most people are buying and carving pumpkins, so why not make it a party!  Check off one of your to-do’s while drinking, eating and laughing with friends.  And no need for a babysitter, invite the kids too.  It’s a simple party to get ready for.  Everyone brings their own pumpkin (BYOP), while you supply the stencils (free online) and individual pumpkin carving kits (they’re inexpensive) and a plastic trash bag for each person to carve their pumpkin on.  It’s fun watching each other create pumpkin designs and great for conversation.  I’ve planned one in the past and everyone had a blast!

Whatever your plans might be this year, either needing inspiration to design your own jack-o-lantern or ideas to help you win your pumpkin design contest, then check out below my favorite pumpkin ideas to get you in the spirit

So many ways to have fun with pumpkins!  There’s a lot more cool ideas out there, but these are my favorite pics!

Click here for free pumpkin carving stencils.

Click here to see the largest carved pumpkin.

Do you plan to carve or create something fun with your pumpkins this year?  Please share!  I would love to see and hear your ideas.

Wordless Wed: Driving with Kids

I was talking with a few of my mommy friends and we were sharing our driving experiences with kids.  We were laughing and getting a kick out of what each of us go through, yet there’s no one laughing when it’s rush hour, the kids are strapped in, yelling, hungry and nowhere to pull over!

Illustration from Nick Mom

The New York carpool lane makes riding with kids definitely worth it!  Hope you got a good laugh.  I sure did!

Old Friends & New Beginnings

It’s been 7 years since I moved from California to New York.  It’s tough to maintain friendships when you’re 3000 miles away, but through the test of time, miles and bonds there’s the friendships that fade and those that last.

This weekend a dear friend came back to the city for a visit, Fran.  It was so great to see her!  She was one of my first friends in NY.  When I moved here I was totally a California girl.  Yep, totally!  Everyone would say, ‘you’re not from around here, are you?’ or ‘you look like you’re from CA.’  I don’t hear those comments too much anymore and I have to admit, I do miss it.  As a NYC newbie, Fran showed me how to experience the city and we absorbed it as single ladies.  Fun nights out, dinners, boutique browsing, cafes and enjoying early weekend shopping at the Young Designers Market (up and coming designers) in Soho, craving fashion on a budget!!  We were two spontaneous girls and up for anything.  Fun times to remember, for sure.

Now…I’m still living on the East Coast, married and a mom – Fran in a relationship living by the beach in So Cal.  Time has passed, a few miles were added, lives have become busy, yet here we are 7 years later having a girls’ lunch at Gina La Fornarina on the Upper West Side reminiscing and catching up – just like the old days.  And we could not have picked a more girlie spot to do it – decorated in pink and white, fresh flowers and tables filled with chatting ladies.    Only difference today – table for THREE ladies and make it snappy, we’re on a nap schedule!  We now have one New York little lady in the making.  Oh how I loved seeing my friend and daughter getting to know each other, bonding, and smiling together.  A new era with new memories to cherish.  Here’s a friendship in the making…

Getting to know each other on the streets of New York City…

Table for three ladies, please…and two cocktails and a milk, sir…

 

Frannie will you sit by me, please? :)   Friends indeed.  Special day!  Tugs at my heart…

Do you have friendships that have lasted or know will last through the winding, distant, sometimes bumpy, long roads of life?  Would love to hear about them.

Until next ride,

Amy

Wordless Wednesday: Appreciation

Last night my husband and I painted the town!  Not in the old way we use to, but in our new era of life, post baby.  It was my birthday.  We had a simple dinner out at an Italian restaurant in our neighborhood, Osteria Il Paiolo.  We shared the restaurant with only one other couple and their daughter about Maddie’s age.  I ordered my favorite pasta dish, a glass of Barbera and listened to old Italian classics playing in the background.  I couldn’t help but think about how lucky I was to be enjoying a simple dinner out, alone time with my husband, and blessed with a sweet-little-high-energy daughter, who I was missing already.  I could have sat there all night enjoying the moment.  After we finished our dinner, two waiters came over with a small chocolate cake, a candle, and quietly sang happy birthday.  I’m sure it was not the norm there, but the place was practically empty, so I’m sure, they were open to anything, even singing!  We took our time finishing the cake and just absorbed the rare time out together.  As we headed home, we walked along the waterfront overlooking the Manhattan skyline.  It had been scorching hot and humid for weeks, but to our surprise, last night the weather could not have been more perfect…just like the evening felt…

As I stood there looking out at the Manhattan skyline, absorbing the night, I thought about how much I appreciate what I have: a daughter who pulls at my heart daily, a loving and supportive husband and living in a dynamic city that I am able to share with my family everyday.  I couldn’t help but want to remember that moment, and snapped this picture.  Wordless Wednesday has now become quite wordy…

Do you take time to stop, in your busy everyday life, to think about the things you appreciate?  What are they?  I would love to hear about them.

Until next ride,

Amy

Restaurant Survival

Children’s section, please!  Ahhh, exhale!  So nice to be finally sitting, and can’t wait for my cold ice tea and a non-diet meal.  The city was sizzling hot, and we had been walking around for hours carrying the stroller up and down steps with Maddie in it, shopping bags and the baby “luggage” on our arms, and all the while, dogging the NYC sidewalk traffic.  Phew!!  So very nice to be sitting and relaxing in air conditioning at Patsy’s restaurant on the Upper East Side.

As a parent you know not to get too relaxed while dining out.  Moments, and I mean only moments, after ordering our refreshing drinks, it started.  We know what IT means, don’t we parents!  Maddie was not pleased about a few things and was not afraid to “voice” herself.  I want that fork, spoon, table bread, water, napkin, salt, pepper, crumb, whatever is on the table!  My husband and I quickly went into routine mode and pushed everything to the far end of the table.  No problem, we’ve got this.  We were now enjoying our table bread at two arms reach across the table.  Maddie, getting more antsy, tries to propel herself from the highchair onto the table.  She was getting loud, winy, and at that point, everyone in the restaurant knew it!  I tried to hold out, but couldn’t.  I unfortunately had to go to the restroom leaving my poor husband alone to man the toddler wheel.  Why do I feel guilty about having to go to the restroom?  Everyone does it…it’s a human necessity.  Oh, the life of a mommy…get in fast, get out fast!  No time for primping.  Still no problem, we’ve got this.

When I returned, 5 minutes later, I knew things just went from bad to worse!  Madison was tossing the sugar packets into the air and onto the floor.  I looked at Dean and he said, ‘let her…it’s making her happy.’  Apparently Madison had gone into a panic scream cry when I walked away and the waitress had to assist Dean in calming her.  Oh my!  Then the pizza came.  Maddie wanted out of the highchair and there was no stopping her.  I propped her on the bench seat, I was sitting on, and she started jumping and screeching as loud as she could, as the whole restaurant watched on, some joining in and participating.  Come on now, people!  Ok, problem, I don’t think we have this anymore.  All I can think is, please stop antagonizing her…can’t you see I’m trying to get some control here!  I propped my leg across the bench, so she would not fall as I tried to eat my pizza.  Talk about muli-tasking!  I’m not looking for peace or relaxation at this point, I just hope to eat.  Eventually Maddie exhausted us, the patrons, and the servers.  We INHALED our pizza and left the toddler-crime-scene!

Looking at this cartoon now…I laugh, but in the moment, I just want to sit at another table (not claim Maddie as mine) and watch the chaos from a distance!!  I’ll take the non-children section, please…next time.  ; )

Have you been in an awkward pubic situation and wanted to immediately dart away?   Please tell me I am not alone! :-)

Until next ride,

Amy

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