Think It Up! Staples Donates to Local Area Schools

Thank you, Staples, for making me like you even more. Truth be told you had me, years ago, with this ad:
It’s not enough that you are our go to for all things school and office, but now this?

Staples and Joe Kelly Support Boston, Cambridge and MetroWest Teachers with Think It Up™

Joe Kelly, Kirk Saville

Staples announced that it has funded 214 local classroom projects in the Boston, Cambridge and MetroWest communities, as part of its recent pledge (in the amount of $10 million) to Think it Up™, a new national initiative of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) is looking to start a new movement in support of students, teachers and schools, by creating a culture of excitement about learning everywhere in America. This fall, Think It Up, in partnership with, will look to fund student-powered, teacher-led learning projects in classrooms across the country.

Red Sox Pitcher and Think It Up ambassador Joe Kelly attended the announcement in support of Boston’s students and teachers. “It’s great knowing this generous donation will help make meaningful learning projects happen in classrooms throughout the Boston area, thanks to Think It Up,, and Staples’ commitment to supporting students,” Kelly said.  was founded in 2000, and has helped fund more than 236,000 classroom projects for teachers and helped more than 14 million students. Today, in the Greater Boston area, Staples fully funded every project on in Boston Public Schools, Cambridge Public Schools and MetroWest communities. More than $204,000 was donated to help 173 teachers fulfill classroom needs and helped 14,063 students across 85 schools in the Greater Boston area.

“We’re thrilled to fund all of the projects in the Boston, Cambridge and Metrowest communities and to work with the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Think It Up initiative and to ensure classrooms have the supplies and resources they need,” said Alison Corcoran, senior vice president, North American stores and online marketing, Staples. “Through our Staples for Students program, we’re proud to build on our rich history of supporting education with our $10 million pledge to Think It Up that will make a difference in America’s classrooms.”

I know a few teachers (I’m even related to a few) so I know it’s true that teachers spend their own money for their classrooms so this is an especially important initiative.

How can you help? Support Think It Up, you can donate a dollar at a Staples store or visit to learn more.

I did receive a gift card from Staples (oh, happy day) which I plan on using immediately. Thank you, Staples. All opinions are, and always will be, my own, and my love for that ad is for always.

Happy Mother’s Day!

IMG_4663Are you reading this while waiting for your surprise breakfast in bed? Then go read this beautiful essay by Laura Shea Souza.

Mom, ours forever

Breakfast still not ready and you hear a lot of commotion? It’s okay.

Enjoy the cards, the flowers from the yard and the spilled juice. What is on deck? When your family asks what you want to do for your special day – be ready with some family friendly ideas.

The Art of Craft is an open artisan market held in Cambridge over Mother’s Day weekend. Join the fun Saturday, May 11th and Sunday, May 12th 2013 from 10 to 6:00. This celebration of local artisans and community members includes music, children’s activities, and delicious locally made food for all. Parking and admission are free.

The Art of Craft features only handmade work from artists and artisans from all over New England. With over 80 different artists who work with a variety of media, there is something for everyone. From gorgeous wooden cutting boards and woven textiles, to perfectly crafted jewelry and fun, funky handmade toys to edgy hipster T’s we’ve got it all this year.

There will be a live stage with music for listening, dancing and singing along. In addition, this year we have some fabulous food trucks joining us on Saturday late afternoon and Sunday starting at lunch time.

Located in Cambridge just off of Route 2, near Fresh Pond and easily accessible by car, bike, or bus. A portion of the proceeds of this event will go to support the arts at the Fayerweather Street School.
Artists are welcome to subscribe to our artists’ list to be in the loop for the Art of Craft 2014 and have access to updates, event news and more here.

Go for the food trucks, stay for the art and music. Well, I’m hungry.

Also today is Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum. Sure it’s raining now but it’s supposed to clear up around noon, Really. Pack a picnic – peanut butter and jelly sandwiches anyone?

Still waiting for that breakfast? Also check out Mother’s Day Guide from You can plan your day while you wait (it shouldn’t be long now). Have a lovely Mother’s Day!


How Many More Days of Vacation Week or Is It Over Yet?

It is that time of year again – school vacation week! If you have planned ahead, your children are in daily activities, if you have not, you are no doubt washing crayon, and quite possibly food, off the walls and hoping for enough time for a shower. I have experienced many, many school vacation weeks – some better than others.

My advice? Get moving and keep moving. Do you need to pretend you are a shark and only your constant movement keeps you alive? No. Does this mean no slow-moving sleeping-in mornings? Depending on the age of your children, maybe. You can do it, you just need the right attitude. I don’t mean you can’t have lovely mornings at home.

When my children were younger we had a breakfast where we practiced math facts with dominoes and had our breakfast in pretty dishes. Sometimes we even played school with real worksheets and stickers for work well done. They are older now and that won’t fly (we didn’t have smartphones, tablets or apps back in the day, either) but if your little ones are quite young, it will get you some quality hot beverage time before you roll.

If you are still reading, you may need help. No worries – here are some ideas and links for local activities. KidoInfo out of Rhode Island but covers Southeastern Massachusetts, too. Founder Anisa Raouf has done a fantastic job of lining up the best resources and she shares so nicely, too! From the website: Kidoinfo is Rhode Island’s guide to family fun, creative ideas, resources and local events. With fresh ideas everyday, we keep you in the know with DIY projects, kid-tested recipes, after-school activities, camps, story times and so much more. From new parents to grandparents, babies to tweens, we have something for everyone.

Boston Area – Moms A great site with Guides, Things To Do listings, Discussion Pages for Parents and much more. From the site – a listing of family activities for the next seven days. You’re welcome!  Go to Momsfor great local activities and events.

Here is a link to the Museum of Fine Arts  with its great vacation week programs. Don’t forget the Museum of Science  – The Pompeii Exhibit is great and good for most ages (it may be hard to explain that we don’t live near an active volcano to young ones but the world map of active volcanoes is a good visual reassurance). If you are going to the Pompeii exhibit it is worth getting a membership, really, it is always worth getting a membership here. I signed up online and picked up my membership card and packet when we got to the museum. Super easy.
Need more? Click on these links for vacation week ideas: The Boston Children’s Museum,The Harvard Museum of Natural History, The Peabody-Essex Museum and The Discovery Museums.We also like to take walks at the Weston reservoir or Lake Waban at Wellesley College – both places are dog-friendly and nice easy trails.
Arts and Crafts? Check out Artbeat in Arlington, Sew Easy in Needham and Wellesley or Hip Stitch in Newton.
It is also a great time to make some healthy resolutions and cook together as a family. I attended a blogger event at the Chestnut Hill Shaw’s Supermarket and they were rolling out a Nutrional IQ progam that helps you make healthy choices. Not that I am giving up the holiday cookies quite yet – just not making a meal of them!
Crafts at home – Here is a great link to Pragmatic Mom’s site for homemade play dough. Definitely a longtime favorite at our house, too.

Gifts for Grads, Dads, Teachers, Newlyweds, Birthdays and Babies

sharon schindler photography, boats, capability mom blog
Photo by Sharon Schindler

…that should cover it! I find this time of year even more challenging than the holidays in December and am always looking for creative, beautiful gifts for Teachers, Grads, Father’s Day, Baby Showers, Weddings…Whew. I am probably forgetting something, too. Really, I am frequently forgetting things…peri-menopause or something worse? You make the call.

Since our school system has a strict no gift policy that no one adheres to…oops, I mean, everyone does…really, they do. It is not as if we want to give Birkin bags or cars in exchange for a kickin’ recommendation letter, for goodness sake, we are talking about a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble, maybe, and our kids are too young for college rec letters anyway. Don’t get me started on how hard working and underpaid teachers are (disclosure, my sister and dad are teachers). So you want to thank your child’s teacher – what is a rule-following person supposed to do?

Wilder Glassworks Capability:Mom
Wilder Glassworks

Well, we have Honor Your Teacher – a program run by the Newton Schools Foundation* that lets you make a donation in honor of a teacher – a very nice thing to do, and, as an added bonus, you are following the rules.  You can also give a class gift – which for some reason is okay or at any rate, accepted practice.  Pragmatic Mom and I brainstormed and came up with some good ideas on Teacher Gifts back in December. Other great teacher gifts are: sweet stationary – love Pixie Chicago for that – homemade treats are always nice, as are large flowering plants, books or gift certificates to your local bookstore. Don’t discount the lovely note from your child thanking their teacher for a wonderful year. Handmade cards are always the best but if you are feeling flush, go to Paper Source (good easy to pick up gifts for Grad and Dads, Teachers, too).  I also found great cards (and sweet journals – just add a pretty pen or nice colored pencils) at Target in the dollar spot (my favorite part of the store).

If you have a little more time on your hands (and you still do, relax) you might want to get something a little more special. I like to find local artists and luckily there is no shortage here (Newton Open Studios, was, as usual, wonderful). Don’t fret if you missed it. There is always next year! Here are some local artists I found…

Wilder Glass works, Newton Ma Capability Mom Blog
Wilder Glassworks

For a class gift, Wilder Glassworks is a great place to start. Beautiful fused glass plates – Pragmatic Mom gives these as her staple wedding gift – maybe I should renew my wedding vows to see if I get one (grin).  The artist, Suzi Wilder, was inspired after a visit to Venice years ago (she came home with a suitcase full of glass – read about it on her website here).  Wilder Glassworks also features gorgeous custom plates for baby gifts (several teachers had babies this year and the personalized baby plate would be perfect). In the event you are approaching a milestone birthday, like maybe 40, get a large piece from Wilder Glass. You can get a group of friends to pitch in on it together, then take the new forty-something out for a glass of wine (see if she gets carded). If Dad isn’t so very tidy and you are trying to help, get him a fused glass plate (perfect for watch or spare change and ipod).

zakim bridge sharon schindler capability mom blog
Photo by Sharon Schindler

If you need more Father’s Day gift ideas, check out Sharon Schindler Photography for gorgeous art photography. Sharon photographs the outdoors, architecture….love her Boston scenes (including some unique shots of Fenway Park) – a really wonderful gift.  Is Dad an architecture nut? Does he love boats? bridges? Her photo of the Zakim is stunning. These prints are stretched on canvas frames and available in several different sizes (great for both home and office).

sharon schindler photography newton north high school book capability mom blog
Newton North High School Photo Book

Need a Graduation Gift? Perfect for Newton North Grads (or for an alum coming up on a big reunion) is this coffee table book of the old Newton North High School. Sharon Schindler took all of these photos (almost 500 of them) and it beautifully showcases and documents the school (okay, I wrote a paragraph or two in it as well). For grads – I am about the book, or journal, or fun dorm stuff. I like Black Ink (Boston and Cambridge and  Good (Boston) – both online, too.

sharon schindler photography newton north high school book
Newton North High School Photo Book


*The Newton Schools Foundation is a non-profit fundraising organization dedicated to supporting innovation and creativity in the Newton Public Schools. Our goal is to impact each child’s education by working as a community to provide Newton Public School educators with the skills, tools and technology for 21st century teaching and learning. (from the website)


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