The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

DSCN2380.JPGWhile crazy shoppers were storming retail stores on Black Friday, I had time to engage in some enjoyable conversation with my kids. Don’t get me wrong – I speak with them often, but usually my speaking involves questions. Did you do your homework? What do you want for breakfast? Can you please stop hitting your brother? Did you brush your teeth? You get the drift.
Yesterday, we spent the day in Manhattan with my brother-in-law, sister-in-law and my teenage nephews and along the way, our kids provided tons of comic relief. Case in point – while walking along 42nd street next to Bryant Park (which is absolutely amazing this time of year), my daughter stared up into the sky and noticed the Chrysler building in front of us and the Empire State Building to the right. And out of nowhere, she cracked a joke and didn’t even realize it.
“Hey Mommy. Look at those two buildings in the sky. They both have big tips!”
Get it? Big tips? Hilarious! (Well, at least I thought so).
DSCN2382.JPGNext, it was my son’s turn – while wandering in and out of the some of the best kiosks for shopping in the city (please keep this a secret amongst us Role Mommies – I don’t want everyone knowing how incredible Bryant Park is – with its free ice skating, carousel, great food like chocolate covered marshmallows and apple cider, and did I mention the shops?) After finding the perfect winter hat for my daughter, we discovered one kiosk selling puppets that resembled the entire cast from Sesame Street and Avenue Q (gotta love that show). And they were so affordable that I broke down and bought my son a monkey for Hanukah (1 gift down, 7 to go). And then, we proceeded to play with it on the train, in the house…wait, what I meant to say was my husband proceeded to play with Carl the Monkey. He loves it so much, I think he may hire himself out for parties.
After a thoroughly enjoyable visit to Bryant Park, we then stopped by the windows at Lord & Taylor where they’re doing a classic Victorian Christmas theme this year and then after a quick bite we walked along Fifth Avenue and passed the Barnes & Noble on 46th Street where the Jonas Brothers were doing a book signing for their destined to be a Pulitzer prize winner, Burning Up which is pretty much a picture book from the teen hearthrobs’ concert tours. As we attempted to shove our way through a crowd of screaming girls, the police informed us that the store was closed until 6 pm (it was only 3:30 pm) since the boys were somewhere on the 2nd floor signing autographs. Unfortunately, without a Jonas Bros. sign, we couldn’t go inside. And so, my daughter lamented for the next 30 minutes about her misfortune, until I reminded her that in the last six months alone, she got the chance to attend exclusive performances by Menudo (before they became huge) and Disney star, Jordan Pruitt. I guess the next teen superstar meeting on my agenda is the Jonas Brothers…here’s hoping their publicist reads my blog (trust me, I’ll say nice things, I swear).
From there, we wedged our way to Rockefeller Center – which truthfully is a little boring nowadays since they haven’t lit the tree and there’s nothing to do there except watch other people skate for ungodly amounts of money.
Finally, we maneuvered our way back to Grand Central Station, passed a few stilt-walking clowns from Wintuk – who are currently performing the latest Cirque de Soleil show at the WAMU theater at Madison Square Garden – and then made it to the station where we had a few minutes to check out the fabulous holiday booths they’ve got on display every year (love the hats and jewelry), plus the annual GCT Kaleidoscope show will be kicking off in the next few days too. Quick re-cap for those of you who are skimming this post – the must-see places this time of year in Manhattan are Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park. After that, you can go home.
As we hopped aboard our train and returned back to our toasty house and my Mac Book Pro, my six year old decided he wanted to write a story. Perhaps he got the urge since he’s constantly watch me type away on the computer, but nevertheless, this is what he had to share:

My Family

My family is nice because they are playful. We go to bed at night. We brush our teeth. We play with toys.

The End

Short, sweet and to the point. We play, we sleep, we brush our teeth. What more do you need anyway…well, if it were me, I would add “shop” but when you’re six, who needs shopping when your parents can buy you a monkey?

The Role Mommy Cooking Show – Part Deux

Our web series continues with the second half of our Thanksgiving cooking show. If you’re a culinary disaster then join me as I whip up my mom’s signature sweet potato and marshmallow recipe that’s been passed down from generation to generation. Hopefully Grandma Dora and my mom will be proud.

The Staycation Blues

Check out my latest vacation lament on Traveling Mom – I’m one of their mom blogger contributors – except I’m the one in desperate need of a vacation – where’s the justice on that one anyway?

Another Harry Potter Giveaway!


The Tales of Beedle the Bard, which becomes available on December 4 features five classic-wizarding tales written and illustrated by J.K. Rowling. A must have for every Harry Potter Fan!
This purchase also represents another very important form of giving: From every sale of this book, Scholastic will give its net proceeds to The Children’s High Level Group, a charity co-founded in 2005 by J. K. Rowling and Emma Nicholson MEP to make life better for vulnerable children.
If you’re a Harry Potter fanatic, then send us a comment today about why you should be at the top of the Role Mommy holiday giveaway list! Winners will be randomly chosen and the prizes include:
One (1) Grand Prize
Complete Box Set Books #1 – #7
Four (4) Runners Up

Meet Author & Eco-Mom Helen Coronato

crop_web_photo-112x154.jpgRole Mommy: What did you do before you became a mom?
Helen: Sleep in. And…I was a middle school Language Arts teacher and then a public librarian in the Children’s Room.
Role Mommy: When did you decide to reinvent your life?
Helen: When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to become a writer. I envisioned myself in the cozy, private nook of my stone cottage working beneath a window that looked out on an English garden where I carefully labored over each word of my soon-to-be-released, best-selling children’s picture book.
Skip to the present.
There is no stone cottage (we own new construction). There is no English garden (I have a black thumb). There are no picture books (though there are children). There is no private corner (see children). BUT, there are books–wonderful nonfiction books that have given me the opportunity to be both teacher and student; which, if we are really fortunate, is what the best experiences always do.
I am so grateful that I am an author. There is nothing I wanted more when I was a kid; there is nothing I want more now. And because I am a mother who wants her children to turn their dreams into reality, I thought I should start with myself first.
Role Mommy: How have your children influenced your career path? How many do you have?
Helen: Once upon a time, not so long ago, I shopped, cooked, and cleaned for myself. And I don’t just mean myself, as in, there was no one else in my family. I mean myself, as in, there was no one else in the world. I drove my car everywhere without ever considering my dependence on foreign oil. I drank expensive coffee in Styrofoam cups daily. Cleaning my apartment meant spraying the entire place with an all-purpose, bleach-based disinfectant that I wiped up with a roll of paper towels that and I then threw into the garbage can, along with cans, bottles, and old magazines. My concerns were, well, my concerns; a selfish attitude, I now know.
Flash-forward to this weekend, and you’ll find me checking labels for the USDA’s organic approval, opting for green tea in my recycled thermos, and mixing one part vinegar with three parts water to clean my kitchen.
Why the change? I have two reasons: Michael and Thomas, my sons. Before I became a parent, my needs were personal comfort and cheap convenience. Then I became a mother and wanted nothing more than for my children’s needs to be met. Instead of being solely focused on my own desires, I began to focus on the health and happiness of the two people I had just met. I always thought that being a parent meant that you were the most important teacher in the world. Then I became a parent and I realize it means that you are the most important student in the world. My children have shaped my life in ways I could have never imagined and to them I am eternally grateful.
Role Mommy: What’s your favorite “Time Out” tip for moms (taking time for yourself)
Helen: Treat yourself like a union represented toddler. Sit down and have a morning and afternoon snack to keep your energy up. And take a fifteen minute break everyday to have a cup of tea, flip through a magazine or close your eyes. If you want your children to learn healthy habits for taking care of themselves, you have to take care of yourself.
Role Mommy: What does your website offer moms or kids?
Helen: Knowing that an eco-friendly lifestyle works best when everyone actively participates, I designed family focused activities to make going green a way of life that is both fun and functional and am happy to share my book Eco-Friendly Families with everyone from experienced “greenies” to first time recyclers. Information about green workshops and special events I am involved in are posted.
Additionally, below are some of my professional projects:
– I host a monthly internet radio talk show called A Novel Idea: Stories Behind the Bookshelves where I interview authors, editors, illustrators and agents about today’s publishing market.
– I facilitate writing workshops and presentations for aspiring authors
– I have a monthly newsletter to showcase great products, happenings, special events and new projects
– I am currently at work on my fourth book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raising a Strong Willed Child
Role Mommy: What do you hope for your own kids?
Helen: That they will always feel connected to a community and find honor, integrity and fulfillment in the role they play – whether they are a cashier or a king.
Role Mommy: Who is your Role Mommy?
Helen: Right now, it’s the woman I saw at the supermarket the other day. She was halfway to the entrance with a child holding each hand when she stopped in her tracks, turned around, and went back to her car to get her reusable bags. That is someone who is walking the walk. That’s who I want to be.

Funny Parenting Video of the Day…

Scoured YouTube today since the DH thought my Homework Time video was pretty lame. Okay – he was right – I’m having fun with editing on iMovie – but guess I still need to stick with the pros. Anyway, in the meantime, check out this video we found that’s pretty funny. And it’s only got 99 views – which means it’s totally under the radar. So now it’s your turn – watch it, enjoy and let’s help Deb & Ali get some more downloads!

The Car that Got Away

Since vlogging (video blogging) is all the rage, I’ve decided to give it a shot. I’m also a little lazy tonight since I’ve been runny ragged all weekend. We went looking for cars and as you’ll find out, while I had my heart set out on one sports car in particular, we’re probably going to wind up with something I had least expected. Take a look and see if you can relate…

Secretary of State Clinton & My Personal Dream Team

images-1.jpegAccording to the NY Times, it appears that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is thisclose to accepting President elect Obama’s offer to become Secretary of State. And in a matter of days, he’ll be announcing his cabinet. Frankly, I wish he consulted with me – because I think I have some great prospects he should totally add to the Obama dream team. Here are some of my picks:
Mike Bloomberg – put him in charge of all city budgets
Colin Powell – give him any job he wants. He deserves a second chance with a way better President.
Steve Jobs – Official White House IT guy
Whoever is running Blackberry – since Obama can’t send emails, they can act as his official email reader and responder – just need to come up with a cool name. How about BIC (Blackberry in Chief)
The guys at Google – they could launch a government search engine that makes us money back and helps reduce the deficit.
The other guys at Twitter – they can host private tweet ups with cabinet members sponsored by major corporations. First tweet up sponsored by Motrin.
The kid from Facebook – He could launch a page to re-connect past presidents, VP’s and world leaders.
The marketing teams at Disney and Nintendo – can help plan all social gaming activities for Malia and Sasha and create mini events and screening parties at the White House (my kids would like to be on that list)
Emeril Lagasse and the guys from California Pizza Kitchen – White House Chef and family friendly restaurant team.
The dog whisperer – official dog walker and trainer – once that puppy is adopted, the first family is going to need help pronto!
George Clooney – official MC at state dinners and fundraisers – I’m sure you’d get tons of attendees and if you auction off a date with George, just imagine how much more we could reduce our national debt?
Sarah Palin – Governor of Alaska – psych!!!
Do you have any suggestions of your own for Obama? Make a comment and win a holiday gift pack from