Books · Boston Day Trip · Grow Your Own Way · kid-friendly

Six great Earth Day books

It’s Earth Day this Sunday, and don’t you wish it actually felt like spring in New England so we could get in the proper Earth Day spirit?

Alas, it’s cold and windy here, and it actually snowed yesterday. So we are going to celebrate Earth Day in a cozier fashion, all curled up at home with a few of our favorite Earth-themed books.

Last weekend, Georgia and I had a great library haul after the first day of soccer. We picked up a couple of these books, and the others we are lucky enough to own. You can order the Usborne books on Amazon (without Prime) or via their website, unless of course you have a friend who sells Usborne books.

All the Water in the World This has gorgeous illustrations and an engaging, unusual tone as it teaches children all about where water comes from … and where does it go? Georgia loves how the narrator calls her “honey” on a few pages! It’s simple enough to learn something meaningful while enjoying the beautiful painted pictures.

Above and Below This is one of my favorite Usborne books. All their offerings are top quality, but this one has such a great feature: it offers a split-page layout that gives readers a behind the scenes look at each wildlife illustration. Depicting eight of the world’s habitats, from the rainforest to the deep sea, children learn about the diverse ecosystems of our planet, from plants to animals and everything in between.

Thank you, Earth This is a classic for a good reason! Amazing photographs explore the beauty and complexity of the world all around us, with whimsical verses about nature, science, and the workings of our magnificent environment. It’s engaging for multiple age levels and is simply beautiful to look through.

The Bee Book Filled with great information about how honey bees work, and what human beekeepers do to care for them, this book gives a digestible and gradual exploration of why bees are so important to our environment. While many children know bees can sting, I find they almost always understand, too, that they they are incredibly hard workers in the world of the outdoors. This book shows through beautiful pictures and simple words just how brilliant bees are, and how their hard work helps put food on all the tables of people across the Earth.

How Do Flowers Grow? Boy do we love flap books! This is no exception. With adorable illustrated pictures that appeal to preschoolers and enough interesting facts to fascinate older readers, this is a book that can be enjoyed together or independently for elementary aged children. I love buying books like this before Georgia is quite ready for them, because we can page through them together so she understands a few things, and then it’s nice to see her happily look it over on her own, too. She immediately connected the information in the book to her preschool lessons about how plants grow, and always tells us she can’t wait to get started on our family garden after reading this.

The Curious Garden When we first started picking out books at the library last weekend, Georgia was SO thrilled to see this one in our pile because it’s her favorite for story time at school. And it warms my little urban-planning heart! It shows a young child exploring a gray, smoggy city devoid of any greenery. One day, he discovered some fledgling plants on an old train trestle, and he starts nurturing a garden by himself, little by little — until one day the whole city is vibrant again. What a difference it makes to take care of our Earth and all her living things! And to think that children can make a difference in doing this, too — maybe even better than grown-ups.

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If you’re in town this weekend, there’s an Earth Day Agricultural festival Sunday at the Boston Public Market, and the Freedom Trail Foundation just expanded their tour schedule for the season! What’s Earth-friendlier than walking?? If lounging is more your speed, the Swan Boats have also just opened up for the year in the Public Garden, and Eataly  is offering a “tasting by sustainable producers” event as part of their Earth Day at Eataly lineup in Back Bay. Come enjoy a car-free, green day in the city!

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Boston Day Trip · kid-friendly · Uncategorized

April Vacation @ Boston Public Market

Looking for something to do while schools are closed across New England next week? In addition to the Marathon on Monday, there’s lots going on at the Public Market this entire next week. Maybe we will bump into you! Nothing is better than spring in Boston. Learn more at BostonPublicMarket.org.

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Boston Day Trip · kid-friendly · Travel

Sunday Driving North of Boston

Happy Wednesday everyone! We are halfway to a holiday weekend, or more than halfway if you’re taking off Friday like 90% of the people in my office. I can’t wait for three days home with my G! This Sunday we had a rare wildlife sighting — Mark Linehan, in his natural habitat, without having to work…ON THE WEEKEND. Naturally, we took advantage of it with a little day trip outside the city. For this adventure we chose to visit my all-time favorite ice cream stand, Erikson’s in Maynard. Sometimes childhood memories don’t stand up to present-day reality, but in this case that was not at all true and it.was.EVERYTHING.

Erikson’s is just a quick jaunt off of route 2 from the city, and from there you can take a leisurely ride around the northwest rural suburbs of Boston. Maynard, Stow, Bolton and Lancaster are the heart of apple-picking country and lie equidistant from Worcester and Boston, and Route 117 makes for a gorgeous Sunday drive any time of year, whether in spring with all the wildflowers, horses and goats on view, or during peak fall foliage. Continue on to Harvard, as we did, and stop in at the General Store for made-on-site lemonade, sandwiches and sweets. Then, enjoy them in a family picnic across the street on the town Common!

There’s lots of other fun things to do in the area. We love The Discovery Museum in Acton, the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, and of course the dozens of farms and orchards that are open to the public year round, such as Honey Pot Hill, Bolton Spring Farm, and Nicewicz Family Farm.

A great path back to the city takes you via Route 2 or 62 through historic Lexington and Concord, where there are literally dozens of attractions and parks to visit — enough to make up their own separate day trip, in fact. You can stop by Minute Man National Historical Park, Orchard House (where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women), Walden Pond, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the Battle Road Trail, the Emerson House and the Thoreau House (pick your transcendentalist), The Old Manse & nearby North Bridge where the first shots of the Revolution were fired, and of course Lexington Battle Green, Buckman Tavern and Minuteman Statue. Near there is the famous Minuteman Bike Trail, which is super kid-friendly (and therefore extremely crowded on weekends) and which has lots of cute shops and places to grab snacks or ice cream nearby in Downtown Lexington. Of course, I don’t recommend doing any of these things with Mark unless you really, REALLY want to learn about colonial history…like in extreme, minute detail (but in a fun way!)

Oh, to be this carefree and happy every day. Life is magical when you’re three!

I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. We are equal parts excited about kicking off summer in New England and sad to mark yet another holiday we would have celebrated with Georgia’s Great Granddad. Living a thankful life every day is one way to honor his memory, and I hope you can find small ways to do the same in your own life this year. xoxoxo.

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Boston Day Trip · kid-friendly · News · Tips and Tricks · Travel

August Day Trips from Boston!

It’s definitely late August now. Georgia has had her birthday party, my Florida squad has left town after their annual visit, and the fall calendar of meetings is already filling up at work (big, heavy sigh). I’ll share more photos of G’s party at the Stone Zoo soon, but here’s a sneak peek plus a couple snaps from some day trips that we have been taking while warm weather is still around us here in Boston. There’s nothing like summer in New England!  

We made trips to the Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford, Gary’s Best Hot Dogs, Bedford Farms Ice Cream, the waterfront and shops in Newburyport, and a fun new restaurant called City Streets where they put cooked pasta on top of tossed salad — what?!? Sounds crazy, tastes really good.


Order like a native with the works: mustard, relish, onions and celery salt. Junk food overload not required but encouraged.img_8312Awesome waterfront dining in Newburyport at the Black Cow, where I sampled an amazing veggie burger, fries and cole slaw alongside a crisp glass of Pinot Grigio.We rolled up on the night of a gigantic classic car show, complete with propped hoods and blaring 50’s music. It was awesome!img_8234img_8236

This past weekend, we had the rare treat of Mark being off both Saturday and Sunday, so we decided to take a trip to Revere Beach, home of the famous international sand-sculpting festival, which takes place every July. We love this beach because, at 9 a.m. on a weekend morning, you can have the place to yourself, and there’s parking right on the parkway along the shore. On Sundays, the parking is free and pretty easy, especially if you arrive early! Georgia was over the moon that Mom and Dad were off work at the same time, which hasn’t happened probably since we flew to Florida as a family this past winter. She kept Mark busy building sand castles and wading with me in the low tide for hours, and we made it home in time for lunch and a nap. Sometimes I can’t believe we are lucky enough to live within 15 minutes of the subwayhiking, and the ocean.

I feel like we’ve done our best to make the most of our summer before Georgia starts preschool in early September. Where did my baby go?? In preparation for going to the “big kids school” after Labor Day, we all decided it was time to give up the pacificer, which G has used for naps and long car rides since she was less than a year old. Last Sunday morning, we set the binkies out on her window sill, and after church we came home to find that the “Binky Fairy” — whose arrival we’d been discussing together for months — had swapped her binks for a big girl preschool backpack and lunch bag, some sticker books, some fruit snacks and a couple new stuffed animals to cuddle. She even left Binky Fairy Dust! So far, it’s been over a week and she’s made barely a passing comment about wanting them, so I am ready to call it a success.

I also wanted to share that we lost a dear family member this past week — Georgia’s Great Granddad, who lived a long, full life and passed peacefully just a few weeks after turning 94. He was very special to both Mark and G, who always wanted to be held by her Great Granddad and lovingly referred to him as “my friend.” Here are a couple of my favorite photos of them together, from the year she was born and again this past winter. He will be so very missed.

I’ll be back after the services ~ hope you all have a very restful week ahead.

Boston Day Trip · Uncategorized

What we’ve been up to

Lovelies, I’m sorry for being out of touch. Somehow I blinked and the summer is drawing down, a nip of fall air snakes through our window screens every night, my baby is about to turn three, and the last of our garden’s tomatoes are ripening on the vine (or getting swiped by some drought-plagued squirrels and chipmunks). It’s that time of year when heat waves alternate with bursts of thunder shower and you might consider dry-cleaning your most summery dresses just one last time before packing them away for fall’s plaids, jeans and galoshes. I changed out my bright pink polish for a wine-toned pedicure the other day, and I’m making plans to enjoy every last chance to eat a popsicle, make a day trip, dine on the porch, grill up dinner, visit the ocean, dip my toes in a kiddie pool, and slurp a cool beverage in the weeks to come.


While I love the idea of apple picking, over-sized sweaters and cider donuts, I thoroughly dread the actual onset of winter’s chill and the notion of being cold walking across the hardwood floors every morning, or needing to heat up the car, taking a scalding shower to wake up, and making the switch to hot coffee. (OK, fine, I never make the switch). No amount of fall shopping can cozy me up to the idea of needing a jacket every day or having to carry extra shoes and socks everywhere for the inevitable soaking that happens when you trudge through snow and slop. I might walk right out the door in flip-flops and order a salad and lemonade down the street right now, just because I still can!

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Georgia and I are trying to make the most of it. Though our garden really suffered this year through the lack of rain here in Boston, we did manage to make a few tasty meals from the peas, basil, tomato and berries we grew, and we got out to enjoy the sunny days at every opportunity. Where last year I had a toddler afraid of swimming and unable to walk long enough for morning-long excursions to the farm, I now have a miniature big kid who delights in swimming and building sand castles and who has to be dragged away from the fun of blueberry picking, ice cream eating and animal patting. She’s articulate enough to express disappointment when mom or dad has to go to work for the day, but she’s also cheerful and easy-going enough to enjoy our ad-hoc adventures and outings as a twosome. It’s amazing to see someone discover fireworks, bouncy houses, sprinklers, hiking, Italian ice, outdoor concerts, double rainbows and boat rides for the first time. The world is actually remarkable if you choose to see everything with wonder and focus.

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 Cheers to August and staying laid back before school, life and heating bills resume. 🙂