***NEW HOME for LB Living Better***

logo_4_2_abec787c7ae5I probably should be spending dozens of hours spring cleaning my closets, instead I have spent dozens of hours spring cleaning my website and blog!  I have merged this blog with my new website:  www.lblivingbetter.com.

I very much appreciate the support, comments and conversations I have had with followers of this blog and I sincerely hope that you will click on this link and continue to follow at LB Living Better Out Loud.

For my current email followers, I have manually moved you over to  the new blog and you should receive a confirmation email shortly.  If you prefer you can receive posts via twitter @LBLivingBetter or on Facebook!

What a difference a year makes, thanks for living better with me!

Cheers, LB



Busted for Plagiarism in 1974

It’s true, my life as a writer was derailed in the fall of 1974paper_school_story_writing by my third grade teacher.  I was caught plagiarizing and the truth is, I was guilty.  Not only that, it was one of those moments that I can recall like it was yesterday and I know it has had a profound impact “writing” life.

In my defense, the expectations were way too high for an eight year old.  A new three – four sentence story every day, really?  And, it had to have a picture to go with the story that filled the top half of the paper.

You remember story paper, one half has lines for neat printing and the other half is a giant blank space for the picture.  “Make sure you fill in all of the paper with your picture” said teachers everywhere.

If the diagnosis for ADHD existed back in the mid-seventies, I’m sure I would have been a candidate.  That being said, my teacher’s took care of my symptoms the old-fashioned way and found many reasons to send me out of the classrooms.

In third grade, my teacher discovered that I liked to write stories. (I was not so happy about the drawings, but apparently not bad at the story part.)  Each day I was given a blank piece of paper and told to write a story and THEN, the best part, I was allowed to go down to the kindergarten rooms and read my stories.

This little charade went quite well until that fateful day when I met writer’s block.  I couldn’t think of a story and I was desperate to get out of the room and visit the other classrooms.  So, I did what any anxious, hyper, third grader would do, I plagiarized a story and I got busted.

How can I remember something that happened nearly 40 years ago, because I got caught in the most mortifying way possible, in front of everybody.

I had watched an Easter special on television the night before and basically I retold the story as my own the following day.  I read that story to a room of kindergarteners and as soon as I finished a little red-haired boy in the second seat of the second row jumped up and yelled, I watched that story on television last night.

It got louder and louder with kids yelling out that they had seen that show too.  They were pointing and laughing.  I can see the teacher coming from the back of the room and asking if I had written the story.  I kept my head down and begged the black and white tile floor to suck me into the basement.  I can still feel the redness burning through my cheeks.

“Did you plagiarize this story?”  bellowed the teacher.  (I’m 8 years old lady, do I know what plagiarize means?)  “You can’t take someone else’s story and pretend it is yours.”  (Well aware of this fact right now.)  “You need to go back to your room.”  Without a word I bolted out the door and ran down the hallway to hide in a bathroom stall.

Eventually, I returned to my classroom and told my teacher that I didn’t feel like reading today.  She seemed preoccupied and didn’t ask me anymore questions, thank goodness for small favors.

Busted for plagiarism at age eight, a lesson learned and never forgotten.  I never wrote another story and English classes made me feel anxious right through college.  I have since recovered and learned to write again the first time I had to deliver a eulogy (click here to read more about my writing).


The Truth of About “Going Screen-Free” this Summer!

time_unplug_children_summerI wish I could say it was a great epiphany or the culmination of the study of great parenting journals that helped me arrive at the decision to go screen-free for the summer.  No, it was nothing like that at all, it was an honest to goodness, full-blown, hissy fit. One of those not to be proud of parenting moments wherein you make a loud, impactful declaration from which you cannot back down.  Such is the birth of our screen free summers! Continue reading

I got the Best Mother’s Day Card 16 years ago… | LB Living Better

I received the best mother’s day card 16 years ago, in 1998, on my first Mother’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, my kids have made me some absolutely lovely cards over the years, but it was the first card, the first year, presumably from my new infant daughter that still resonates with me today. Everything you will ever need to know about motherhood, you can learn from Kanga.

20140507_102306 (2)

“How do you learn to be a mom?” asked, Pooh. “You just follow your heart, ” answered, Kanga.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my fellow Mom’s, whether it is your first or your 60th, enjoy your day and your family.

via I got the Best Mother’s Day Card 16 years ago… | LB Living Better.

LB Living Better Newsletter!


New Summer Bucket List 2014 – Download Today!

Crazy as it may seem, we are more inclined “to do something”, if we write it down. Using this principle, I set out to make our summers full of “doing” and the summer bucket list is as much fun to create as it is to complete!

summer bucket 2014Since my children were very little we have had a summer bucket list and we continue to use it with our teenagers today.  It’s a great way to get input from everyone ~ because no two “perfect summers” look the same!  We also go screen free from June 1st to September 1st hence the need for the list!  That will be a story for a future blog post!

Some years our list included elaborate vacation plans while other years we focused on a theme.  There was the year of the sea shell, the year of visiting and last year, was the year of travel.

The list has space for movies, people to see, things you won’t do this summer and more.  Children love to fill this out and you will be surprised how simple and easy some of their requests are to fulfill.  I hope you enjoy this activity with your family.  Love to hear what is on your bucket list!



Spin the Bottle….(i mean map!)


It’s that Time of Year again…. have fun on your adventures!

Originally posted on LB Living Better:

images (4) The Kids are Home, the Kids are Home…Spring Vacation in New England!

Here is a fun, simple game I have played with my kids for years, when we cannot think of anything to do! Get out a map of your town, state, local area and place on a table. Have your child close their eyes. Spin the map and have your child drop their finger to stop the spin. That is your new destination. If you have multiple children you can vote, fight, or debate the options after each one tries (good luck letting only one of them do it). In the meantime, take the opportunity to show your kids the different elements of a map and how to read it (bonus education points).

You can set parameters prior to the spin – we are only doing an outdoor activity, we have to stay in a 50 mile radius, we…

View original 88 more words

…the only mistake is not to begin (the irony of my tagline)


I can’t believe it has been a year since I wrote this post. Makes me smile now to think how much I have learned! This year my new social media “jump” is Twitter. Please join me @lblivingbetter!

Originally posted on LB Living Better:

I am a planner, there is no denying it, but sometimes you have to be a jumper. You can plan yourself to death, this I know. However if you are always planning than you are not actually doing. I can’t help but hear a very wise old priest, my uncle, saying “if you want to see God’s sense of humor, just tell him your plans!” So today I jumped, sort of by accident, but a jump nonetheless. I created a facebook page for the website and future book that I am writing. I sent the page to a few friends hoping they could give me some feedback, when they of course “liked” the page therefore making it public. After a quick panic, I realized that even though I write about organization, and emphasize to everyone that it is not about perfection, I somehow felt that this did not apply to…

View original 34 more words

Thank You to the Best Bus Driver Ever

images (15)When we send our children to school, we naturally worry about their education. Who will their teacher be? What classes are they in? Will they succeed? What will they learn? Are they happy? Will they make friends? What is their day like when they are away from  home? And the list goes on and on…

I don’t think that I ever gave a second thought about my children’s bus driver.   And yet, much to my great pleasure, my children were fortunate to have one of the best bus drivers ever, Ben.

Continue reading

A Mommy Clique … Are You Kidding Me?

images0RTMZRZQA Mommy Clique?… Are you kidding Me?

While waiting anxiously for the arrival of my twins, I stumbled upon a magazine article about “The Mommy Clique” and it has stayed with me for years.  I could not believe or actually just refused to believe that “mommy cliques” actually existed.

Didn’t we leave cliques in high school? Little did I know, that a few short months later, I would walk smack into the ridiculous points this magazine presented.

My boys were about two months old when I decided to venture to a park in a neighboring (very affluent – though this is not an indication of cliquishness, but does pertain to the story) town. I parked the twins under a tree in their double seat infant stroller and proceeded to watch my near two-year old explore the sand and new playground structures. Let the fun begin…

Moments later a very well dressed Mom (who wears heels to the park?) passed by, and I said “hello”.  I’ll admit I was desperate for some adult contact. She looked at me, did not respond, and walked about 15 feet away. I rationalized that she didn’t hear me, while quickly checking to make sure I had buttoned my blouse after nursing and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. More mother’s joined the first mom, each one cooing over their child’s and mother’s outfits (apparently many mothers get dressed for the park).

A few moments later,  I overheard (as I was meant to), that “someone was sitting under their tree”.  Since there is only one tree in this park, I was pretty sure they were talking about me.

The loudest member of the mommy group arrived and commented as well about the tree, but, then she continued to walk over towards me. Great I thought, finally a friendly mom, coming over to include me in the group (NOT! ~sometimes my thinking is oh so flawed). The only thing that brought this mom and several other moms over to talk to me was the novelty of the twins in the carriage.  Moms love a baby, and well you really can’t resist when there are two babies.

They “ooed” and “ahhed” as most do, and then proceeded to quiz me on the “label” on their blankets and the make of the carriage. Since I didn’t have answers to either question, I mumbled an “I don’t know”. Thankfully they did not wake the babies and within minutes walked away without so much as a hello, an introduction, or even an invitation to join them (silly me, did I think that I was dealing with grown-ups?). The mommy clique did however size me up from head to toe and based on the laughter upon returning to their group, I’m surmising that I did not pass muster.

I held my ground under that tree as long as my children would last. I watched the clique ignore their kids, laugh like phonies, and every now and then glance in my direction to see if I would move. The magazine article was correct there are moms who never outgrow the cliquishness of high school and perhaps will raise the future “most populars”. Thankfully this group of Moms is definitely in the minority, as I would go on to find wonderful motherhood friends and park acquaintances.

I do wonder however, what if all cliques dissolved as soon as you entered the sorority of motherhood. We may not all agree with each other’s mothering but you can be sure we could be the most powerful, influential, inclusive, group alive.  I’d love to hear if you’d like to join my all-inclusive clique!

copyright LB Living Better, 2013