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I’m thrilled to have my friend, neighbor and photographer Jean Spencer write today’s guest post about how to take great pictures of your kids (and don’t forget to check out her special offer now until the end of the month). We’ve all been there. It’s a beautiful day and the family is gathered together. You see these sweet little moments pass by – your son snuggled up with his grandfather reading a book, two baby cousins cooing at each other… Read more »

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Guest post about monarch butterflies by Katie Banks Hone.    There have been fewer things so magical in my recent life as a mom than having raised monarch caterpillars with my two girls. Over the last three summers we have released at least 50 and every time one emerges from its chrysalis it’s just as exciting as the very first time. We’ve even been known to eat breakfast with a critter cage full of chrysalises as a centerpiece knowing one could… Read more »

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We give a warm welcome to Angela Henderson of Kidsbook Friends as today’s special guest writer. In this post, Angela offers us 7 tips on how to successfully read with toddlers. “Children and books go together in a special way. I can’t imagine any pleasure greater than bringing to the uncluttered, supple mind of a child the delight of knowing the many rich things God has given us to enjoy. Parents have this wonderful privilege, and books are their keenest tools. Children don’t stumble onto… Read more »

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“Do you have any wine you can pour yourself when you get home?” my sweet friend Helena, ironically a teetotaler herself, asked me surreptitiously at the playground last night. “No,” I replied, “but does watching the DVR’d Bachelorette episode of hometown dates count as an equally unhealthy guilty release? Come to think of it – maybe there’s a bottle of Corona hiding in the back of the fridge.” Clearly I looked a little frazzled. Goldilocks was getting away from me again. Zipping… Read more »

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Happy 4th of July everyone! Hope the summer is treating you all well. Write in the comment section and tell me what your favorite memory of summer 2014 has been so far. For us in New England, we get such a short and sweet summer that I’ve toyed with the idea giving myself a pass, posting a “Gone Fishing” type of blog piece to give myself the entire summer off from blogging. Just so I can be in the moment and… Read more »

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Picture Books to Celebrate Dad “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” ― Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, I find my thoughts turning to appreciating all my husband does to keep our family happy, healthy and thriving, intact and oh yes, laughing. We are so lucky to have him and my daughter is… Read more »

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Porridge welcomes Hilary, a friend whose line of work I find endlessly fascinating. In today’s guest post, Hilary shares her story of how she went from theatre to the healing arts.  “When you age, you don’t just get older. You are every age you’ve ever been.” For the first seven years of my career I was dedicated to theater. I studied as an actress and director, spending seasons in New York City, Boston and the Berkshires. In 1999, after finishing a production… Read more »

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In Gloucester there’s a fisherman’s memorial statue with a plaque that has engraved on it: “They That Go Down To The Sea In Ships 1623-1923.” If you continue to walk along the Stacy Boulevard Esplanade you’ll come upon another statue: the Fisherman’s Wife Memorial.  Leonard Craske, creator of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Memorial, wanted a sculpture of a woman as a companion piece. His model, displayed at the Cape Ann Museum, shows a woman holding her bundled child. Craske’s proposed inscription was, “They also serve who… Read more »

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Porridge welcomes Sheila Moeschen, writer and editor, who offers up a little nostalgia about the magic of the Boston Public Garden (and how it’s a gem of a cozy place). By 1830, the cows were no longer tolerable. After all, Boston was a modern city, one that had experienced its share of gritty growing pains and coming of age trials: settlement and expansion, Revolutionary War occupation, not to mention that whole tea in the harbor thing (tongues STILL wagging over that one). The… Read more »

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“The happiest most at-peace people I know have two things in common: a frequent yoga practice and a frequent practice of forgiving.” It’s fitting that Mother’s Day should be in the month of May. May is gentle and merciful and forgiving, as a good mother. And if mercy and forgiveness had a scent I think it would be the mingling smells of May’s magnolia trees and lilacs. To forgive is a choice that doesn’t just happen once, but it’s a habit and… Read more »