Summer of UMIGO

When school finally ended on Friday, I turned off the alarms set on my phone and looked forward to a slower pace for two months. Unfortunately, summer vacation for many children can mean a summer slide for learning. I know what my children have planned for the summer so keeping up come September won’t be an issue but for some kids across the country it will be.

That is why UMIGO — a collection of free stories, music videos and games for early elementary age children is such a great resource. It helps children develop the math skills they need for effective reasoning and problem solving.

Summer Of UMIGO Watching Appisides #UMIGO


My son Harrison tried out UMIGO (which stands for You Make It Go) and enjoyed watching the fun, narrative-driven “appisodes.”  When he got back home from an end of school year playdate with friends he asked if he could watch more UMIGO. I think it’s safe to say, he likes UMIGO.

While my sons received a Google Chromebook from Santa at Christmas, it doesn’t mean children without access to a computer or tablet have to miss out on the UMIGO experience. UMIGO’s unique educational content can be experienced at children’s museums, libraries, family care centers and other community settings.

And to take learning a step further and into a technology free zone, UMIGO has free downloadable at-home activities also designed to make learning easy and fun.

UMIGO’s educational content is aligned with the Common Core Standards for Mathematics for first and second grades.

UMIGO is funded in part by a US Department of Education Ready to Learn grant awarded to WTTW Chicago Public Media. In partnership with the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), UMIGO will bring its narrative-based appisodes, interactive games, activities, and educational resources to more than 70 communities around the country. You can find a location close to you by looking on the NSLA’s interactive map at


This post is made possible by support from UMIGO. All opinions are my own.

Odd Mom Out

Throughout the winter my favorite local diner was closed pretty much every Tuesday I wanted to have an apricot filled crepe because the cast of Odd Mom Out on Bravo was inside filming.

At first I was all “WHYYYY?!” but then when I found out Odd Mom Out was a scripted series based on Jill Kargaman being an Upper East Side mom, I stopped being all cranky. And took a shot of wheatgrass and placenta. (I kid, of course. Because I too am so an Odd Mom Out on the Upper East Side.)

The series starts airing tonight and I was given the opportunity to make some Mom-osas and watch the first three episodes with friends. Not a bad way to get me to feel better about not being able to go to the local diner right?

And now, in order to not be a show-off I’ll share you can win $20,000 just by watching Odd Mom Out. Want more details about the #OddMomOutSweeps? Head over to the Bravo TV show Facebook page. Good luck.


Honoring Mothers

When I was a tiny baby, my mother simultaneously studied for the state bar and rocked me to sleep. She didn’t carry me for forty weeks … or even one.
But when I was three weeks old, she made the decision to be my mother.  To say my childhood was dramatically different than what it could have been is an understatement.
Throughout the years, my mother made sure I learned about foreign film, swam like a fish, laced up Pointe shoes with other dancers and surrounded myself with books that grabbed me.
Sure she taught me what mothers usually share with their daughters but for me, I was inspired by how she was always pushing me to learn things and not be comfortable with just the norm. It is what I do now with my four children. And I hope it is what they do with their children.
Sharing how grateful I am for the choice my mother made to raise me is not at all uncommon. But sometimes people need a little help with the words they share with their mother. I consider the text in Hallmark cards to be writing prompts with the other side of the card blank intentionally for you to put your heart to paper.
I found a couple of Mother’s Day cards from the Hallmark Mahogany line I could consider for my mother this year. When I saw the card on the left, I thought it was adorable and it even reminded me of the photo above with her when I was a month old.
Hallmark Mahogany Mother's Day Cards #PutYourHeartToPaper
During this motherhood journey, I have made friends who have been amazing but one stands out.
Two years ago she sat on my sofa after getting unimaginable news from me… and cried. I had been holding it together for hours but seeing her cry made me realize it was alright to do the same. She is the most levelheaded, calm and collected person I know. Seeing her cry (because of me, ugh!) was my green light to stop trying to be tough.
Like the true friend she is, she had brought me my favorite dough doughnuts even though she knew I didn’t have an appetite. And she continued to be right there with me in the months that followed even when I didn’t think to say I needed her.  Seriously… I actually turned around one day and she was right there to celebrate with me. I have no idea what I did to deserve her friendship but she is wonderful.
She has two children of her own and her calm way of handling things that come up has definitely inspired how I handle parenting situations of my own these days.
I found a couple of fun cards for her too. She is always getting coffee and every spring she makes one of the most fun cakes for guests at her home. And if you promise not to tell her I know, I think she may also be a super hero.
Hallmark Mother's Day Cards #PutYourHeartToPaper
I have two of the coolest aunts around — Titi Yolly and Titi Lizette are pretty awesome. I admire their work ethic and family loyalty so much. Spending time with them and their children is always a fun time. One of my favorite memories is us going to karaoke together and stayed out til 4AM like we were young things. Both Titi Yolly and Titi Lizette have raised great children and have a common sense approach to parenting that is such a breath of fresh air. And they’ve been known to give me some great life advice as well.  To be honest with you, they are aunts everyone wishes they could have. I’m lucky they are mine.
I picked out two cards for them I could give them!
To read about more special women and mother figures honored for Mother’s Day follow Hallmark on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter (Follow the hashtag #PutYourHeartToPaper to read how other people are honoring the special moms in their life!)

And you can watch the rest of the Hallmark videos too. Grab some tissues first!
Hallmark Logo #PutYourHeartToPaper
This post is sponsored by Hallmark but the my feelings of gratitude for the mothers in my life are my own.