Do This: BOO! {your neighbors}

A couple weeks ago around dinner time the doorbell rang at our house, and by the time we got to the door no one was there. What WAS there, however, was a basket full of Halloween goodies and decorations, and a note explaining we had been "Booed" by one of our neighbors. This was the first time we had gotten Booed, and the kids just loved it. halloween-boo8In our basket we had some candy, some cute Halloween decorations, some fun spider rings and glow sticks and three more "Booed" instructions, including two signs. One "We've Been Booed" sign for us, and another one for the first house we chose to Boo. The instructions were simple. Put the "We've Been Booed" up in your window so you don't get hit twice, then pick two (or more) houses to spread the fun to. You give them their own basket along with the sign and instructions and then they pass it on. I just loved it, and the kids really got into it too. We shopped for some fun treats, put the baskets together and plotted out how we would Boo our neighbors without getting caught. Part of what I loved about it was that the kids were excited about getting cool stuff for OTHER kids, rather than wanting to buy it all for themselves. The idea of spreading the fun and making someone else smile, even if you didn't get to actually see them finding it because you were trying not to get "caught" is just so contagiously fun.

Also, I love how this easy trend helps build community in our neighborhoods. Maybe you find a new family to Boo as a way to welcome them to your area. Maybe there is a family with a new baby and you can do a Baby Boo (throw some diapers in there) or a grown up Boo (bottle of wine and some popcorn to watch a movie? I'd take that). The idea is to just spread a little fun, and it definitely will bring a smile to someone. So this week, while you're buying your candy to get ready for the big night, maybe just pick up one extra Boo basket and start this little trend in your own neighborhood. xoxo

This is the perfect time to get those Boos in, and here is a super cute (and free) printable to include in your Boo Baskets.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Author Jeff Kinney coming to SaratogaArtsFest THIS WEDNESDAY!

wk-1-1SaratogaArtsFest, coming to our city THIS WEEK, truly has something for the whole family, and this Special Author Presentation and Book Signing is quite the treat for kids and parents alike. Presented by Northshire Bookstore and ABRAMS books on Wednesday, June 5th at 6:30pm at Skidmore College Jeff Kinney, author and cartoonist of the #1 bestselling DIARY OF A WIMPY KID SERIES will talk about his origins as a cartoonist, how the books first got published, and what is in store next for "Wimpy Kid" Greg Heffley and his family and friends. The latest Wimpy Kid book, #7 The Third Wheel, had the biggest first printing of any book in 2012. Book #8 is due out in November 2013. Books will be available on location for purchase at this family friendly event. Admission is free with an ARTSPASS or Festival Pass or Youth Pass. Single ticket sales are also available at the door for $10. Giving you access and/or discounted admission to over 40 events during SaratogaArtsFest 2013 with a value of $40, the ARTSPASS includes:

  • Free admission to most festival events
  • PLUS: Discounted admission to others
  • PLUS: Discounts at Saratoga Springs restaurants and shops during the festival
  • PLUS: Discounts throughout the year at area arts organizations (To review the benefits offered through June 2013, check out the current edition of arts365!)
  • PLUS: Eligibility to purchase discounted Ben Vereen Ticket ($10 with ARTSPASS)

***GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED***All you have to do is comment below to win, and I will choose one lucky reader at random at 5pm, Monday, June 3rd. To view all of the amazing offerings this year from SaratogaArtsFest click right here, and stay tuned to Mamatoga for more on this great festival happening right here in Saratoga! xoxo



Take Part in the Mamatoga Beauty Project

beautyAs a mom to a daughter, I think often about her self esteem, about the way the media and outside influences might shape the way she sees herself. I want her to know that she is the most beautiful thing in the world, and I want her to feel good about herself, about her body, about the way she looks. I want her to feel confident and strong. I'm not saying outward appearance is the most important thing, far from it. Rather, I want her to have a better understanding of what real beauty is. That real beauty isn't a cookie cutter definition, that everyone has their own beauty, every face, every body, everyone has their own beauty and that it comes in all shapes and sizes, all shades, all ages.

I got to thinking about magazines, where we often find those cookie cutter images, especially of women, and thought how nice it would be if there was a magazine that had some real images of women, some real images of what women thought was beautiful about themselves. A way to celebrate what is beautiful in all of us.

That is where you come in. I want photos of YOU for the summer issue of Mamatoga Magazine. I want to see what makes you beautiful. If you think you are most beautiful when you are laughing, send me a photo of that. Maybe you feel most beautiful in your partner's eyes, or your kid's eyes, so have them take a photo of you (or draw one). If you think it is when you are nursing your baby, send me a photo of that. If you think it is your freckles, your smile, your feet in the grass, your hands, your stretch marks from carrying your baby, send me a photo. I want to see what really makes you, you. Maybe you feel the most beautiful when you're with your best girlfriends. Maybe it's when you're running a marathon, or making a special dinner, or when you're carefree on vacation with your family. If you felt most beautiful while pregnant, send me a photo of that. If you would rather not have your photo in the magazine but still want to take part? Just send me a few sentences about when you feel the most beautiful, you can even do it anonymously (of course). I want to celebrate women, celebrate motherhood, and the beauty of both, the real beauty of it all with some real photos of real moms.

Have fun with us, get creative with it, make it your own.

Let's make this a POSITIVE continuation of the great community we have here, a supportive, no judgment community. This is NOT a beauty contest, this is NOT a forum for judgment, this is NOT a place where anyone should feel embarrassed, or ashamed, or uncomfortable. Simply, let's put some real, un-airbrushed beauty on the pages of a magazine. As I said, I'm not saying that beauty is only in the outward appearance, of course not. I just want images, or thoughts, on what beauty means to you, what your beauty is. Submit any photos or written pieces about your beauty (including any questions you have about the project) to by JUNE 10th. I think we can really make something special here, and trust me, you are all so beautiful. xoxo


bobblevoteThe Tri-City ValleyCats selected 16 prominent personalities of the Capital Region television, radio and print media to participate in a month-long bracket buster tournament to determine who becomes the next media bobblehead giveaway at "The Joe!" Each participant selected a charity that they will represent throughout the entire tournament. Fans got a chance to vote each week and today is the final day to vote. I'm asking you today to vote for Greg Floyd, who has made it to the top two, and is representing Hannah Sames and Hannah's Hope Fund for GAN. Hannah’s Hope Fund was started by Lori and her husband Matt who live in Rexford to fund research toward a cure for a rare neurological disorder that affects their daughter, Hannah. Hannah and her family were the cover family for the Holiday Issue of Mamatoga Magazine, and I also got a chance to chat with her mother Lori for the My Mom Life series, and I find Hannah and her family to be so incredibly inspiring.

The winning media personality will be immortalized into their very own bobblehead doll (in Greg's case his doll will be a Hannah doll), to be given away to the first 1,500 fans through the gates at "The Joe" on Monday, August 19. The winning participant's charity will also receive a $1,500 cash donation and sponsorship of the giveaway night. This would be a great way for Hannah's Hope Fund to spread the word on the incredible work they are doing and would help the Sames in their tireless work to find a cure for their daughter and others affected by GAN.

Greg Floyd is only leading by a slim margin, so please, just take a minute out of your day to vote today, it WILL make a difference. Click here to watch more about Hannah and her family and click HERE to vote! Please share this with friends and on facebook and twitter so we can get Hannah that bobblehead! Go Hannah and Greg! xoxo





Mamatoga Loves: The 2nd Annual Empty Bowls to benefit the Wilton Food Pantry


On Sunday, April 14th there is a unique and family friendly event going on at the Saratoga-Wilton Elks Lodge to benefit the Wilton Food Pantry. The event features hand-crafted bowls from the Skidmore College Ceramic Arts students & ceramicists from Saratoga Clay Arts, along with local culinary delights created by Skidmore Chefs and live.

The premise of Empty Bowls is simple: each attendee is able to choose their own handcrafted bowl; fill it with a simple meal of soup, chili and bread; and then take the bowl home after the event, as a reminder of neighbors faced with empty bowls every week.

Advance tickets can be purchased here for just $15 or at the three Wilton branches of Saratoga National Bank. Admission at the door (if available) will be $20.

“Each bowl at this event is a true vessel of hope, the proceeds from which allow the Pantry to purchase 93 pounds of food from the Regional Food Bank,” notes Wilton Food Pantry Board President Deb Zellan.

In addition to the handmade ceramic bowls and food, the afternoon will feature live music by John & Orion Kribs, with special guest, fiddler Doug Moody. A silent auction will be held from 1 to 3:30pm with items including a gas grill, his and hers vintage Schwinn bikes (I have my eye on these!), jewelry, shopping, dining, golf, art and more.

The local community has really pitched in to help for this event, with students and ceramicists crafting bowls, Skidmore chefs cooking the food, individuals and businesses providing silent auction items, local musicians providing music, the media offering promotion, and the Elks donating the space.

“This event amplifies the spirit of the food pantry, which is Neighbor helping Neighbor. Folks are doing what they can to be part of this home-grown solution—strengthening community, volunteerism, generational ties—and working together to resolve food insecurity and provide good nutrition, which makes for a healthier Wilton,” said event organizer and Board member Dennis Towers, whose company, McKinley Griffen Design & Advertising, is providing its services free. Providing families in need with goods and services is the fundamental purpose of The Wilton Food Pantry. Specifically, they supply qualifying individuals and families with a 3-day emergency supply of food (and toiletries when available.)

Empty Bowls is an international grassroots effort created by the Imagine Render Group to fight hunger.  At events across the US, and in at least a dozen other countries, guests exchange a small cash donation for a simple meal of soup and bread served in a handcrafted bowl of their choice. Click here to learn more about the Empty Bowls Project. I hope to see many of you at this great event, but be warned, I will be bidding high on those vintage Schwinns. xoxo