How Not to Mother Like Your Mother (and Why It Doesn’t Matter)

From about the age of six through adolescence, I kept a mental list of things I would do differently when I became a mother. A few examples include: Do not drag your child around to doctor appointments with you, especially when they involve pain or bad news. Do not scream forbidding threats regarding drugs, sex and

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Five Indoor Crafts To Make With Your Child

I miss those warm days spent outdoors with my daughter. Enjoying a picnic in the park, pushing her on the swing, reading a book in the grass while she napped peacefully next to me. Yes, I know, it is winter. The cold weather means more time spent indoors, which also means mommy needs to find

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Row House Renovation: Home Alone

It was my first night sleeping in the row house alone. Pete was away on business, and I had just gotten back from work when the doorbell started chiming. Normally this wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy, except for the fact that I didn’t know we had a doorbell. I walked down the two flights of curvy

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Mamarama: Gestational Diabetes Impact on You and Your Baby

With more than 18 percent of American children being categorized as obese* and about two-thirds of all Americans classified as overweight or obese, we are in a national health crisis. Women, even before pregnancy, have the ability to change the course of their own health and that, in turn, impacts their baby’s health. There is

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Mamarama: What are the Internet’s ‘Sharp Corners’ That Your Kids Face Today?

When I was in grade school I was inexplicably terrified that I would suddenly go blind — either by illness or accident. As a result, I read everything I could about blind folks from Helen Keller to fictional characters who had unfortunate accidents. In one of those many stories was a small allegory that I

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Picking, Preparing and Planting the Perfect Plant

Mother’s Day, our official “safe to plant” date, is right around the corner. And with temps getting warmer and the sun getting brighter people are itching to PLANT something. So how do you figure out what, where and how to plant? CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLANT First you will need to identify the conditions in your

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Buying A House in Jersey City and Making It A Home

Today we’re happy to welcome Kristen Scalia as a contributor to JCI – she will be sharing her experience of purchasing and renovating a row house in Jersey City. You can keep up with more of her story on her blog Enjoy! I didn’t expect to buy a house. I mean, I was looking

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Getting Ready to Garden

My mother was English and loved gardening. When I was four, we immigrated to Massachusetts and Mum was devastated to learn that gardening in lovely moist, not too hot, not too cold England is not at all the same as gardening in extremely hot, extremely cold and rocky eastern Mass. I picked up on Mum’s

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Mamarama: Taking Our Seats

Priority Seating PATH Train Jersey City PATH riders have been increasingly disgruntled with each passing year. We’ve just learned that all weekend service to WTC will be suspended for nearly all of 2014. Receiving news like this tends to make Jersey City residents feel like an unwanted stepchild. However, my gripe with the PATH does

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TRAASH: Transform Brown Paper Bags Into a Beautiful Fall Wreath

This is the time of year when I enjoy baking apple pie and pumpkin bread and snuggling under the electric blanket with my dog Gabi. I also get so much joy making holiday decorations for my home. Fall is all about the leaves changing into vibrant reds and oranges, so I decided to decorate my

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Mamarama: Postpartum Mood Disorders and New Jersey

Last week, 34-year-old first time mom, Miriam Carey was shot to death following a dangerous car chase in Washington D.C. Carey’s mother suggested that her daughter’s irrational and aggressive behavior was a result of untreated postpartum depression. Though this diagnosis is difficult to substantiate, it also cannot be entirely ruled out, as Carey was said to become emotionally unstable in the months following her August 2012 birth.


TRAASH: Recycled Dog Toys

So it happens that a few months ago, while shopping in a pet store, I noticed dog toys made of plastic bottles. “I can make that,” I thought. Needless to say I didn’t try my hand at making toys with plastic bottles until recently. I was reminded of the idea after my two-year old dachshund Gabi smuggled another one of my socks into her cage.


TRAASH: Fun and Simple Ways to Repurpose At Home

Recycling, repurposing, and upcycling is very important to me. But what does it all mean and what’s the difference? To me they all mean the same. Recycling, repurposing, and upcycling all involve the process of changing a material into a new material or product. Most importantly all three of these processes help to prevent waste. So if you are placing an empty soda can into the recycling bin or transforming it into a lantern, you are doing something great for the environment.


Mamarama: Kids & Mourning

Every parent, at some point or another, must figure out how to navigate discussions about death and mourning. It might be over a family pet, a beloved friend, a relative — death is never an easy topic to broach with kids – or even adults, for that matter.


TRAASH: Recycled Plastic Bag Coasters

DIY Plastic Bag Coasters My adventures in repurposing began with fusing plastic bags. Fusing plastic bags involves melting numerous layers of thin plastic together to create one thicker piece of plastic. This new piece of plastic can then be stitched on a sewing machine just like fabric. I love the look and colors of fused

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TRAASH: Lampshades into Bird Feeders

During the Memorial Day weekend, I visited my mother in my childhood turf, the suburbs of Maywood, NJ. As a bonus, she gifted me with a dented lampshade she was getting rid of. The idea for a bird feeder came to me while birds chirped outside the bedroom window the following morning.


City Seedling: Tomato Poetry

If summer has a taste, it’s a wedge of tomato, still warm from the sun, with a little sprinkle of salt. Pablo Neruda calls this mingling of flavors a “wedding” in his poem “Ode to Tomatoes.” If you want that glorious, tomato-y moment come August, you’ve got to get moving now. It’s late to start

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TRAASH: Repurposing Cardboard Into Jewelry

Mother Days Pins In the beginning of the year, I posted a DIY project on my site,, describing how to repurpose cardboard into jewelry.  This month, I’m expanding on that project by using repurposed cardboard to make personalized Mother’s Day pins. I use thin cardboard food boxes, such as the boxes used for cereal, tea,

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City Seedling: Bedfellows

Editor’s Note: We’re happy to welcome back our blogger Emily Helck. City Seedling is a blog about urban gardening in Jersey City. Enjoy! Ah, spring in the city. The cherry trees are blooming, and then being maimed by overzealous maintenance workers. (Spring is when you’re not really supposed to prune these.) Birds are singing, and

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Mamarama: Online Stranger Danger

Last week a mom from a suburban New York community told me that amongst her friends, there is an accepted “rule” that you are not allowed to take photos of anyone else’s kid but your OWN. This is to prevent the possibility of sharing those images on Facebook or any other site where the parent does not have control over who can view those pictures.