A capable mother

Capability Mom lives for a day (with apologies to Miss Pettigrew)

balthazars nycI have been away. Yes, thank you for noticing. I was in New York yesterday for the day. Yes, the city and, yes,  just for the day.  I know.  Aren’t I a rock star? Hmmm…actually nothing like that.  So how did it come to pass that Capability Mom got to traipse off to the City? Am I employed?  No.  Was I on the Martha Stewart Show? No.  Was I even going to a show?  No, though good questions, all.

I happen to have a slew of sisters (three actually, and one brother) and one lives very  far away….in the West.  We do not get to see her as much as we like…so  Sister from the West was in NYC on business and the other sisters, plus our adorable mother, decided to meet her and Monday was the day. We ended up one sister short due to a (family shared) stomach bug and she was sorely missed.

We took the Acela -no quiet car for us – it was a great chance to catch up.  We left Penn Station and took a quick cab ride to the Mercer Hotel – so understated and modern – where we had tea and oatmeal (so virtuous!)  in the lobby which feels like a very cool living room. Now fortified for the shopping ahead (sometimes our mother doesn’t let us take breaks) we wandered around Soho (although we wanted to go in twenty different directions) hit some cute shops and then went to Balthazar for lunch.  I had heard of it but never been. What an amazing meal! Incredible. Fantastic service, knowledgable staff and outrageous food. I had (among other things) the Salad Nicoise with seared tuna and lovely wine (see Vine Lore).  There are photos of this lunch which I will post when I get them (hint, hint, dear ones).

A little quick stop in Kate’s Paperie for gifts for the ones at home (we were gone the whole day). kate's paperies nyc goodies for cpability momThis would be a great place to find Mother’s Day gifts, too. Then back to Penn Station. We stocked up on newspapers and magazines for the ride back and settled in. If we hadn’t had (delicious) wine at lunch, we might have taken advantage of the drink cart that kept wheeling by (I am guessing that it is a steady revenue stream for Amtrak).

All in all, it was a blast. Exhausting and fun and something I had never done before. A great experience.

Mother’s Day is almost upon us…personally I just want a nice homemade card, some hand-picked flowers and some Mommy Prayers.

But if your family needs to do more, here are some ideas…BTW, Mother’s Day is not until Sunday, May 9, 2010.

capability mom loves upstairs at the squareMother’s Day Brunch at UpStairs at the Square – great food in a jewel box of a space.  This menu looks amazing.

I like to have breakfast at home – especially if someone wants to drive to Sofra. I hear the Turkish Breakfast is great but the chocolate orange croissant sounds pretty good, too.

For older children who love to make their own cards – a great resource is Paper Source PaperSource's I love my mom stamp – they have great card and craft ideas and gift ideas that are sweet but not spendy…just right.

You can never go wrong with chocolate…really, you can’t.  Here is a great site – delicious chocolate, adorable and made by a really sweet person, too.

Fancy Nancy’s Candy

fancy nancy candy from capability momThe fact that these made it through the “photo shoot” was a testimony to their adorableness not my willpower.



Ideas that cost pennies or nothing at all:

  • Take a hike…or a bike ride together as a family. Take the dog, too. 
  • Let Mom read the Sunday paper.
  • Send her out with a friend for a manicure and pedicure (commonly called mani-pedi in Mom Slang).
  • Another sweet idea is to put seeds in the card (inexpensive but lovely) and the children can plant them with Mom on Mother’s Day. Good activity and as complicated or easy as you want to make it.

Paper flower garden:

Construction paper, popsicle sticks, playdoh and a cup or small pot.

Cut out flowers of construction paper, tape or glue to popsicle sticks. Put playdoh in cup or pot and you have made a really cute flower for Mom.  We have done this and added photos of the children’s faces (and the family pet?) on the paper flower. Very cute.

  • You could always for the traditional route and bring Mom breakfast in bed. Everyone can help. It can be as basic as a cup of juice and a card to a full out gourmet experience. (For very little ones who want to help, Mom loves juice in a covered sippy cup, really, considering all of the possiblities of a toddler and a glass of juice, she really, really does).

Buy her a book. This book.  It is a really funny and sweet book called Mommy Prayers by Tracy Mayor (she is an editor at Brain Child : The Magazine for Thinking Mothers which I have read and loved forever – well, okay, the past ten years – maybe it just feels like forever).  This book is a series of classic Mom moments in prayer form.  I am not sure if my favorite is Prayer for My Five Minute Nap (Owl Babies…I read that constantly!) or Prayer for the Sunday Paper, Unread.  This book is lovely, funny, witty and on the mark – it will make Mom smile and even laugh out loud.  Okay, Prayer for the Clueless Mom at the Playground is my favorite.  The author, Tracy Mayor, will be at the Peabody (MA) Barnes and Noble on Saturday, May 1 at 2 pm. She will be signing books and there will be gifts! Gifts! If only I didn’t have a volunteer opportunity and two soccer games that day! You go for me – have fun, get gifts and buy books. She has a great blog, too. Mommy Prayers blog

mommy prayersWhatever you decide to do – Mom will appreciate it…that’s why she’s Mom.

Going Green All Week – Come on, it’s great for the planet and even better for you.

 capability mom flowers on step 

For Earth Day…umm, Week  – here are some green sites that I really like. The flowers are on my front step, ready to be planted. This is a going to be a clean-up the yard and planting day. No perennials yet, too cold here. 

Capability Green - Ingredients for a black bean burger

Capability Green  We found each other on Facebook because of the shared Capability thing. She has great recipes and a new blog. She posted about the hideous double down as well but is so amazing that she was inspired to make a black bean burger stuffed with spinach! Gorgeous photos and food. 

Going Green Mama  Just found this site – great tips on going green without going crazy –  funny, great recipes, tips, links and give-aways. 

TreeHugger – can’t get much greener than this site, and from National Geographic their Green Guide for Everyday Living. Happy Earth Day Week!

More on The Little Mermaid at WFT

Check out the blog at Wheelock Family Theatre – Backstage photos, links to special discounts and more.


Love the Wheelock Theatre and just made the connection yesterday (I think I knew this but forgot…hmm, yes, that does happen to Capability Mom sometimes) that Families First was started by Wheelock College and The Children’s Museum in Boston in 1988. WFT has theatre classes throughout the year and you here is the contact information.

Charles G. Baldwin, Director of Marketing

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