Paddle Pub Long Island: Grab Your Salty Friends For An Amazing Time! The Best Adult Night Out On Land Or Sea!

Paddle Pub Long Island *use code “MintChip” to save 5% off your booking!*

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Charter Boat

Every summer, I have one small goal: to go on a boat. Throughout the years, I have accepted this in the form of a ferry, a friend’s boat, and even the little inflatable boat we bought during the pandemic. I’m not picky, just “take me to the river” (in the words of Albert Finney from “Big Fish”).

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Charter Boat

Paddle Pub Long Island Launches!

Last summer, I read about a new local company called Paddle Pub Long Island. Quite simply, it looked like a whole lot of fun, and I was desperate to try it!

That wish recently came true as we set sail – along with some friends — on a beautiful Friday night on our own private chartered Paddle Pub Long Island boat, which could hold up to twenty-six people.

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Charter Boat Great South Bay

Paddle Pub Long Island In Patchogue

We chose the Patchogue location – which sails on The Great South Bay – and packed our bags. Not only was the boat a thorough source of fun, but it was also Bring Your Own Beverage (in a can), so we could pack exactly what we wanted. We also opted to bring sandwiches and snacks to make our booze cruise an elevated dinner cruise excursion as well.

As we pulled out of the beautiful Leeward Cove Marina, we passed all kinds of boats and hopping waterfront restaurants. It was heaven. The stress fell off our shoulders as we saw nothing but open water ahead.

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Bikes Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Charter Boat

Don’t Worry, There’s Also A Motor

When I began this quest, my idea of a paddle boat was something from my childhood involving ducks and some type of lake vacation. I was thinking of little foot pedals. What I didn’t expect was such an advanced set up! It was more a spin class than an aquatic tourist attraction. Now, with that said, we paddled – but there was also a motor – so we didn’t have to work that hard.

In between the six rows of bicycles facing each other we placed our drinks in the coolers (pre-filled with ice) and didn’t have to try too hard to have a fun time.

We drifted around the Great South Bay as our requested music was pumping and the breeze was blowing. We took turns getting up and dancing and taking in the gorgeous sunset.

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Bay Charter Boat

Party Ashore Or Stay On The Boat

We had the option to stop at one of two waterfront bars down the shore, but the crowds there were large, and we were enjoying our little party, so we happily declined the offer.

It’s funny as you age – you don’t need so much. We were so happy just catching up with each other since the last few months have been so nuts. We were happy to relax and enjoy the views while sipping on a few drinks and listening to eighties pop. I mean, what more does one need?

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Charter Boat

Staff To Get The Party Started

Our awesome party host Gina took great care of us constantly surveying the crowd to see if there were any musical requests. She was super attentive to anything we needed and got the party rolling with some fun games. The Paddle Pub Long Island crew of two also included our US Coast Guard Licensed Captain, who chatted us up regaling his tales of life on the sea. They were great party guests in addition to being our hosts.

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Charter Boat Head

Yes, There’s A Bathroom On The Boat! I Asked Too…

I have that answer too – a clean bathroom (with a sink). Yes, all Paddle Pub Long Island boats have a full head (boat talk for bathroom) ready and waiting for you. Because priorities shift to the necessities as one ages, and I am ok with that.

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Charter Boat

The Post Cruise Party Continues On Shore

When we docked – always too soon when you’re on a boat – we didn’t want to leave. So, we didn’t! We stayed behind at the dock and relaxed at the welcoming picnic table (with full barbeque open to the public) and waited until the sky went dark before we returned to reality.

From under our little Paddle Pub Long Island tent haven, we could easily hear the live band at Dublin Deck from our Adirondack chairs and squeeze one more moment of the vacation feels into our night. It didn’t matter that we were only forty minutes away from our house.

We sat and relaxed, enjoyed the view some more and then went back to the insanity of our lives. But for a good two hours it was smooth sailing and just a whole lot of fun.

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Charter Boat

Paddle Pub Offers SO Many Cruising Options!

Paddle Pub Long Island has boats in Patchogue sailing in the Great South Bay and in Huntington sailing in Huntington Bay. Patchogue launched in 2021 and Huntington launched in 2022. They have more locations around Long Island on tap for the future.

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Charter Boat

Booking Paddle Pub Long Island Is Super Easy

Booking was very easy and can be done online. You can either join one of their fun mixer cruises, a themed tour, or charter the boat for a private party like we did or for a corporate event. This would also be a terrific way to celebrate a summer birthday! If you can grab eight friends to join you, your birthday ticket is complementary! It’s just plain fun.

The whole Paddle Pub Long Island team was easy and great to work with from the beginning. We had a contact who helped confirm all our pre-boat information and set up how we wanted our cruise. We were able to contact him both over the phone and by text. He also went over parking information with us since it gets tricky sometimes at the marina and sent us pre-boarding waivers in advance to save boarding time.

If you also have salty air in your bones, you need Paddle Pub Long Island in your life this summer. This was the perfect summer kick off and reminder that we live on an island, and we must take advantage of that wonderful fact.

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Charter Boat

Save With The Mint Chip Mama’s Paddle Pub Discount Code!

Are you ready to grab your friends, relatives or collogues and go? Use code “MintChip” to save 5% off your booking! Good for any cruise this season.

The Mint Chip Mama - Paddle Pub Long Island Paddle Boat Patchogue Charter Boat

More Fun Ways To Enjoy Your Long Island Summer

For more great summer tips on Long Island please visit my posts on: unique playgrounds, hikes, gardens walks, ropes course, and more! 

If you’re looking for a fun family movie to watch this summer check out my kick back list of 80s and 90s movies you’ll enjoy as much as your kids do! 

Looking for a nice and easy family vacation? Check out my posts about visiting Greenport (Long Island), Boston and Washington, DC!

Please also follow me on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook for daily activity ideas in New York and tri-state area!

Happy Sailing!

Look No Further Than This Unique & Unusual Father’s Day Gift Guide! Father’s Day Gift Ideas For The Every Dad – Including Yours.

The Father’s Day Gift Guide for every dad!

Father’s Day gift giving is challenging – for both the giver and the receiver.

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

With that said, it is my annual joy to bring you The Mint Chip Mama’s first Father’s Day Gift Guide! I love finding unique father’s day gifts and “toys” – also the weird and quirky – and bringing them to you.

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

Finding unusual things off the beaten path makes you laugh, and we all need more laughter in our lives.

At the end of the day, remember – dads work hard (as do moms) to make the life of their family perfect. So, if nothing else, be nice to them. Let them have some time to relax. Remember it is their day. Also remember to say “please” when you remind them to take out the garbage and start the BBQ so they can cook dinner for everyone.

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

This list is long but if you need even more ideas check out my Amazon page!

Please also follow me on my BlogFacebookPinterest, Instagram & Tik Tok pages for even more ideas.

The Mint Chip Mama - Wild Play Jones Beach

Father’s Day Gift Idea For: The Dad Who Just Wants An Experience

Ropes course and zipline at the beach at WildPlay Jones Beach in Wantagh

Ropes course and zipline in the trees at The Adventure Park of Long Island in Wheatley Heights

A massage at Massage for Wellness in Hicksville

A super fun time out on the water with Paddle Pub (nationwide)

Passes for a pretty day at one of Long Island’s Gold Coast mansions and gardens

A treasure map hunt around the North Fork of Long Island with Greenie Supply & Tackle

A Private Family Yoga Class with Yogi Beans

Ziplining at Urban Air in Lake Grove

A day of zero gravity at Floatopia Float Spa and Salt Cave in Dix Hills

Axe throwing at Bury the Hatchet in Brooklyn

Glassblowing lessons at Urban Glass in Brooklyn

Graffiti Workshop & Street Art Walking Tour with Brooklyn Unplugged Tours in Brooklyn

Glass-topped bus tour with The Ride in Manhattan

A private party of virtual trivia with The Big Quiz Thing

Donate a goat or other animal Heifer International

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

For the Outdoorsy Dad

Knockaround Sunglasses

An Extra Large Sandless Beach Towel

Bug Repellant Products & Care From Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve, The Bug Bite Thing or BuzzPatches

Collapsible Folding Hammock

Boulder Sports Adjustable Net & Amazin’ Aces Pickleball Paddles

Flexible Tripod

Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern with AM/FM NOAA Weather Radio & Cell Phone Charger

Mini Movie Projector

Intex Excursion 5 Person Inflatable Boat Set & obviously matching Captain Hats

Electric Air Pump

Car Power Inverter (converts your car into an outlet)

Swingball Portable Tether Tennis

Life Changing, Ultrathin Microfiber Beach Towels

National Geographic LED Stomp Rockets

A Big Tent With A Screened In Porch

Collapsible Picnic Table

Binoculars

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

The Get Off My Lawn Dad

Power Washer

Fiskars Lopper

Cordless Pole Saw

Hooks For Vinyl Siding

Fire Sense Stainless Steel Commercial Patio Heater

Jumbo 4-to-Score Giant Backyard Game Set

Mystical Fire Flame Color Changer

JOOLA Midsize Compact Table Tennis Table & Hit Set Bundle

Pretty Outdoor Garbage Pail

Compost Tumbler

Mini Broadcast Spreader

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

The Grill Master Dad

Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Machine Popper

Weber BBQ Smoker Box & Smoking Chips

BBQ Lights

Companion Grill Station

Quick Defrosting Tray

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day Gift Idea For: The Chef Dad

Collapsible Pasta Drying Rack

I Love Tacos! Taco Holders

Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt & Ice Cream Maker

Letter/Number Candy Dish from Sweese or Coffeezone

Adjustable DIY Letter and Number Cake Pan

Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

Instant Ace Cooking & Beverage Blender

Instant Pot 

Air Fryer Attachment for the Instant Pot

Crepe Maker

Wok

The Mint Chip Mama - biking family

The Biker Dad

Windproof Cycling Bike Jacket & Gloves

Rechargeable Bike Light

Thermal Bike Shoes Covers

Water Bottle Holder

Schwinn Bike Foot Pump

Padded Bike Underwear Shorts

Bike Shorts

Bike Lock

Padded Bike Seat

Bike Saddle Bag (Including Emergency Kit: Bike Tire Levers, Mini Bike Tire Pump, Bike Tire Patches)

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

The Techy Dad

A Cool Surprise Tech Box From Breo Box

Rechargeable Hand Warmer (great for sports dads)

Heated Socks (ditto)

Light Up Electronic Word Clock

Flameless USB Rechargeable Lighter

Toilet Bowl Rainbow Nightlight

Apple AirPods or AirPod Pros

Apple Watch (on sale now!)

MacBook

Luxe Bidet Bidet Attachment

Star Projector Alarm Clock

Alexa Echo Dot

Amazon Prime Membership

Nintendo Switch Console

Nintendo Switch Sports Game

LED Headlamp Flashlight

ArmoGear Infrared Laser Tag

Lightening iPhone Chargers

Toothbrush Holder and UV Sanitizer

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

The Retro Loving Dad

Nintendo NES Controller Power Banks

Vintage Casio Calculator Watch

Masters of the Universe Castle GrayskullBattle Cat & Action Figures

Saved By The Bell Uno

Carrom Nok Hockey

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

The Cozy Dad

Shiatsu Foot Massager

Weighted Blanket

Sweatpants with Zippered Pockets

Oilz+ Shea Butter Moisturizer from Scrubz Body

Amour Advanced Pain Relief CBD Cream

A New Book: Woman On Fire, Sea Of Tranquility

A Delicious Scented Candle (Like Dark Chocolate Peppermint Whipped) From Allie Cat Creative Co

Foam Roller

Ear Seeds

Crocs

Birkenstocks

The Mint Chip Mama - South Street Seaport

Father’s Day Gift Idea For: The Dad With A Good Sense Of Humor

A Funny Royal Portrait From Masterpiece Me (use coupon code Stacey15 to save 15%)

CreateOn Grateful Dead Magna-Tiles

Giraffe Wallpaper

Mojimoto Taco Repeating Talk-Back Toy That Records & Repeats

Snazzy Umbra Hooks in Sticks or Skyline 

AvoSeedo Bowl Set (Grow An Avocado Plant From A Pit)

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

The Hungry and Thirsty Dad

Eco-conscious single serve Steeped Coffee Bags

Snack Variety Box From Bonnie & Pop

Delicious Baked Goods From Rad Dad’s Bakeshop

Van Gogh Flavored Vodka

Rainbow Cookie Cake from Uncle Joey’s Rainbow Explosion

Crazy Brownies from Killer Brownies

Donuts from Once Bitten Donuts

Cookies from Pacific Northwest Cookies

Bright Cellars Wine Delivery (save 60% off your first order through this link)

Boyers Roasted Rocky Mountain Coffee

Üllo Wine Purifier 

Goli Gummies: Apple Cider VinegarSuperfruitsSupergreensAshwagandha & Bites: CalmMulti (save 15% with these links!)

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day Gift Idea For: The Dad Who Likes Family Games

Jackbox Games

Countaloupe

Cobra Paw

Kidquest Question Cards

Perfection

Battleship

Rubik’s Race Game

Sequence Game

Ticket to Ride Board Game

Mancala

Not Parent Approved: A Hilarious Card Game 

Chicken War

Beat That

The Mint Chip Mama - Yankee Game

Happy Father’s Day To All!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there. A special Happy Father’s Day to my husband Ross.

The Mint Chip Mama - Father’s Day Gift Guide

An even more special Happy Father’s Day to my dad – who is always up for any adventure and the best Grandpa my kids could have.

The Mint Chip Mama - Splish Splash

Many of these items above contain Amazon Associate links for your convenience. Some items received in exchange for an honest review. All items listed above on The Mint Chip Mama’s Father’s Day Gift Guide are items I genuinely think are cool and are things that I think you will like too.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!

The Mint Chip Mama - Bedell Winery

Calling All Young History Buffs! Experience The Best Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions On Your Next Vacation!

Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions US Capital

Visiting our nation’s capital is a rite of passage for every American. As a result, the Washington, D.C. area offers family attractions that are unique, interesting, and educational for everyone.

American History Museum DC

Families with kids learning about the United States of America and democracy will eat up visiting these Washington, D.C. area family attractions.

National Harbor

That is to say, my kids are HUGE American history buffs and Washington, D.C. was their dream destination.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington D.C. Area Family Attractions Tidal Basin

While we missed the famed cherry blossoms (except for ONE tree) we did see museums, monuments, buildings, and all historic sites our eyes could absorb in five days.

FBI Police Car

Balancing Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions And City Visit

We picked a centrally located hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. (at the midpoint of The Mall). This allowed us easy access to all city attractions. With this in mind, plus the goal of not moving our car, we planned the outside area visits on our way there and back.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions Mount Vernon

George & Martha Washington’s Home: Mount Vernon

Our first stop was Mount Vernon, the Virginia home of George & Martha Washington. This beautiful, huge property (once 8,000 acres!) is nestled right on the Potomac. In addition, it is the most popular historic estate in America. Also, if you like historical movies, you’ll recognize Mount Vernon from the movie “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.”

Our mansion tour taught us George Washington was an innovative farmer who changed his crops to control the narrative. Also – he liked green and loved wallpaper – the high-tech rage of his time. We also learned some behind the scenes movie secrets and that the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association (a private, non-profit organization) swooped in and saved Mount Vernon from ruin in 1858.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions National Harbor

Gaylord National Resort & The National Harbor

With a car full of hungry bellies, we headed over to the National Harbor for some amazing waterfront dining, spectacular aerial views, and retro desserts.

We enjoyed a fantastic meal (including Maryland’s mascot the crab cake) at McCormick & Schmick’s overlooking John Seward Johnson II’s famous sculpture “The Awakening” as the sun set.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions The Capital Whee

Followed by our first glimpse of Washington, D.C. from the top of the 180-foot-tall Capital Wheel.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions Replay 80s Lounge

Finally, we capped off our perfect night at Gaylord National’s 80s-themed rooftop lounge: Replay at Pose Lounge for insane milkshakes and retro arcade games.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions Replay Pop Up 80s Lounge Gaylord National

Gaylord National Resort is not only stunning but also offers seasonal family-friendly activities all year long.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions

With full bellies and drooping eyelids, we headed into Washington, D. C.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions Ford’s Theatre

Ford’s Theatre

We began our family exploration of Washington, D.C. family attractions with Ford’s Theater. Here, on April 14th, 1865, during a performance of the show “Our American Cousin,” Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. The course of history was changed by a six inch single shot Derringer pistol.

This excellent museum chronicles the highlights and legacies of Lincoln’s presidency, the events leading up to that fateful evening, and what came next – both immediately – and for the next 157 years.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions Ford’s Theatre

History buffs can enjoy a self-led tour through the museum and theatre, then walk across the street to the Petersen House (where Lincoln died the next morning) and aftermath exhibits. The pocket-sized murder weapon – found on the floor of the President’s box that night – is on display at the museum as well.

My kids loved the interactive chronicling of Booth’s manhunt, which ended with his capture two weeks later at Garrett’s Farm. I loved the 35 foot tower of books highlighting how Lincoln’s popularity continues today.

Ford’s Theatre is still a cornerstone of live theatre with many upcoming performances.

We continued our Lincoln theme that night with a visit to his memorial.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions NMAAHC

NMAAHC

Our next stop was The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. This museum was amazing.

The museum tour began three floors below street level in pre-slavery Africa, in the year 1400. Next, it outlined the sickening and shocking ways Africa became the hub of slave trading for hundreds of years.

The ascending exhibit continues up 609 years of history – highlighting African Americans’ vital contributions through all of America’s wars, the Civil Rights movement, and cultural contributions, culminating in a huge 2009 image of President Barack Obama’s inauguration as the first African American President of the United States of America.

Upstairs, you’ll find contemporary African American contributions to TV shows, art, movies, music, and more. Every corner of this museum greeted us with important artifacts – including one of Rosa Park’s dresses and a Greensboro lunch counter stool.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum

The International Spy Museum was the most requested stop on our Washington, D.C. area family attractions list. This interactive museum grabbed our attention immediately by immersing us into spy culture upon arrival.

Around every corner you’ll find a kiosk to register your intel, chart your course, and complete your mission. There are places to climb for optimum surveillance and places to assess your agility and strength determining your spy ability.

My kids did not want to leave this museum thanks to the interesting history and super cool spy artifacts. I loved learning about the importance of women’s contributions to spying throughout the decades, how important simple observation is, and how spies have impacted wars by secretly moving information across borders.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions White House

White House Tour

As avid presidential trivia buffs one of the highlights of our trip was our White House tour. The moment tours reopened, my husband contacted our Congressman for tickets.

Swearing in White House Junior Park Rangers

Not only was this self-guided tour super cool, but my kids loved getting sworn in across the street as Junior Park Rangers.

First Ladies Exhibit DC

More Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions

Since we strived to do it all, we also visited the National Museum of American History (for the First Ladies inaugural gown exhibit and Dorothy’s ruby slippers), the Library of Congress (for the Gutenberg Bible), the Supreme Court, the Capitol, our Congressman’s office, the National Archives, and all the monuments.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions Poke DC

Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions Includes Foodies!

We ate so well in Washington, D.C. and enjoyed outdoor dining everywhere thanks to the perfect April weather. We loved Zaytinya and Farmers Fishers Bakers for dinner and LOVED Poki DC for lunch.

Washington DC MLK Memorial

Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions After Dark

While the historical and Presidential monuments are special any time you visit, I especially liked them lit up at night. Our post-dinner walks around the Tidal Basin made our trip super special.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions Washington Memorial at night

Arlington National Cemetery

Since my history buff kids love cemeteries as much as museums, our final stop (pun intended) before heading home was Arlington National Cemetery across the bridge in Virginia to watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Farmers Fishers Bakers Washington DC Georgetown Harbor

Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions: Bring Good Walking Shoes!

In conclusion, chock full of so much of everything, the endless Washington, D.C. area family attractions list offers something for everyone – no matter the age.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions The Shaw

Most importantly, my best piece of advice is bring good shoes. We walked over forty miles! In addition, if you’re looking for a tour company – I loved the choices Historic America Tours offered including their Soul Food Saturdays.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions Washington Memorial

*Above all, be sure to check museum and attraction websites in advance. Many are free and open to the public, but some require advanced ticketing.

The Mint Chip Mama - Top Washington, D.C. Area Family Attractions The Capital

 

Hey Burnt Out Mama: Instantly Fix Your Day With Megan Sumrell’s Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

Hey fellow mamas – do you feel like you’re drowning? Do you swear every day you’ll figure out how to better manage your time? Do you consider the hours between bus pick up and drop off your work day? Me too! But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts Word Clock

Moms Can Enjoy Their Lives And Have Fun

Moms constantly feel like we’re on a hamster wheel. We juggle everything and the disorganization and pivoting drives us nuts! However, with a system in place and some efficient weekly planning, we can better manage our time and lives.

The Mint Chip Mama - Megan Sumrell Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

Enter Megan Sumrell And Her Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

Like life imitating art, as I was stressing about my day, I received a message from Megan Sumrell – the master time management, organization, and productivity expert – wanting to have a chat. YES! I do, Megan! Teach me time management tips for the busy mom! I’m a busy mom! Help me!

Megan is also a busy mom so she gets it. I told her how I constantly feel like a character in the book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” and clearly needed help.

We discussed her evolution of managing and creating technological systems for large industries, to focusing her attention on the networking complexities of a mom’s day. Megan understands that moms are not only responsible for being the CEO of the family but also burdened by the invisible loads of motherhood that we carry on a daily basis.

The Mint Chip Mama - Megan Sumrell Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

Megan Sumrell’s Top Five Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

For the full (FANTASTIC) interview of Megan’s spectacular tips, head over to my new YouTube channel or watch it at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, these time management tips for the busy mom stood out to me. 

The Mint Chip Mama - Megan Sumrell Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

1. Keep On Top Of Housework With Scheduled “Resets”

Working from home is both wonderful and challenging. Understandably, boundaries are blurred between your office and the laundry basket staring you down from the corner.

To keep you in check, Megan suggests leveraging routines. She adheres to decluttering goddess Katy Joy Wells’ concept of 5 – 10 minute “resets” scheduled thrice daily to get pesky household chores done.

She goes on to add that everyone in your home should have an assigned part (knowing exactly what to do) at each reset. Megan suggests scheduling these resets when your child/ren leaves for school (clean up the morning mess), midday (when you transition from work ending to mom chaos beginning), and after dinner (cleaning up from the day).

With this organized system in place, the anxiety of task completion is replaced by the control of knowing exactly when things will get done.

The Mint Chip Mama - Megan Sumrell Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

2. Be Realistic With Your Time

Women are notoriously unrealistic about the amount time they have to get stuff done. Even though one’s kids are at school for six hours, you don’t have six hours to accomplish what’s needed.

Learning the right way to create a weekly plan empowers you to control the unexpected things when they pop up and require your time and attention (read: the dreaded call from the school nurse).

Be realistic with the actual time you have so you can schedule things accordingly. Next, map your tasks efficiently and strategically into your day by aligning them with the time you have throughout the week. Finally, by creating boundaries into your week you won’t feel overwhelmed.

Once you establish this (realistic) weekly map, you can see where tasks fit in and where they can easily be moved if needed.

The Mint Chip Mama - Megan Sumrell Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

3. Layering In Time Management To Productivity Reduces Stress

You can be productive without having good time management skills. However, layering in time management maximizes getting important things done and reduces your stress levels.

Megan suggests starting this process with a time audit to see exactly how you spend your time. This data will help identify the needed tools to optimize yourself (including planning processes) and prioritize spending time on the things that matter the most.

The Mint Chip Mama - Megan Sumrell Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

4. Plan Your Week, Not Your Day

In Megan’s opinion, the biggest time management mistake is daily vs. weekly planning. Daily planning is overwhelming, inefficient, and often checks off only the low hanging fruit. Instead, approach your week like a game of Tetris – each piece fits, you just have to figure out where it goes.

Megan suggests creating your weekly plan in a calm space. In addition, you need a clear picture in front of you (a/k/a not on your phone) of your weekly tasks and how much time you have to do them. Next – and with intention – fit in each item based on your non-negotiable schedule (sports, meetings, things you can’t control). Following this approach allows you to construct efficient time blocks with things that organically fit together. It also allows you to plot in your most creative tasks for when you’re the most focused (this is different for everyone, but it’s often in the morning).

Implementing this process creates flex time throughout your week. In addition, it gives you freedom to move things around as curve balls come up, or to check off quick tasks.

The Mint Chip Mama - Megan Sumrell Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

5. Phones Are Our Biggest Time Sucks

This is not shocking news. The little computers in our pocket constantly distract us. Megan suggests changing phone notifications to “VIP” alerts only (read: kids and spouse) and assigning a personalized sound for each.

She points out that we can proactively take our phone’s power away removing its ability to pull us in and suck our time.

Final Thoughts On Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

In conclusion, Megan believes everyone deserves work/life harmony. As client zero, she not only reaped the benefits of her program but also feels good about helping thousands of other moms enjoy their lives.

Want to know more fun stuff about Megan? Check out her answers to my “Rapid Fire Five” questions in the YouTube video!

You can find Megan on her websiteInstagram, or Facebook. Also be sure to check out her 10 minute weekly podcast The Work Life Harmony and her app – ThePinkBee.

The Mint Chip Mama - Megan Sumrell Time Management Tips For The Busy Mom

Namaste

Fun Hobbies To Introduce to Your Children

I’m so excited to host another GUEST BLOGGER on The Mint Chip Mama! Please welcome: Christina Duron!

Finding ways to entertain your kids is tough. They need a lot of stimulation as they develop, and they quickly find themselves bored. If this sounds like your family, now is the perfect time to help your kiddos find a hobby. Getting started early will help them identify their interests and give them plenty of time to dive in deep as they get older. Check out these fun hobbies to introduce to your children.

Writing

Children have wild imaginations and are always coming up with pretend scenarios. Give them something to channel that energy into by encouraging them to write. Writing stories is an excellent way for your kids to learn how to express themselves while also teaching them valuable skills they can use later in life. Whether they’re crafting elaborate fantasy worlds or journaling their thoughts and feelings, writing is a fun hobby to introduce to your children.

Performing

Does your child love being in the spotlight? If so, performing might be the perfect hobby for them. There are many performance outlets for them to explore, like acting in a community production or playing an instrument in a recital. You could even get the entire household involved and put on a one-family show! Performing helps kids get out of their shells and teaches them to stand tall in front of a crowd.

Gardening

Tending to a garden isn’t only an activity for adults. It takes patience to grow a successful garden, a trait that all kids can benefit from learning. Gardening also teaches children responsibility by giving them something to take care of. This is an easy activity to get your kids involved in because you only need a backyard and some seeds to begin!

Collecting

If your child has a particular interest, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to the world of collecting. You can start a collection from many things, like coins, stickers, or baseball cards. If your kids love comic books, help them start an action figure collection with their favorite characters. This collection will grow as they get older and become even more valuable over time.

Encouraging your children to participate in a hobby teaches them to be independent, among many other valuable life skills. Help them make precious childhood memories by introducing them to an activity they can enjoy for a lifetime.

Word To Your Mother – The Ultimate Guide To Mother’s Day Gifts

Mother’s Day gifts are challenging – for both the giver and the receiver. What does my mom want? What do I want? Who counts as a mother and needs a gift? Can the gift be not having to plan any of it?

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts

Several years ago I wrote What Mom’s of Young Kids Really Want for Mother’s Day and I still stand behind all of these intangible things as Mother’s Day gifts – like closing a drawer if you open it *exhale*. Sometimes as moms – this simple gift – cleaning up after yourself is more meaningful than a diamond tiara*.

However, if you are looking for more tangible Mother’s Day gifts this is the list for you.

Similar to The Mint Chip Mama’s Holiday Gift Guides, I put together this list of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts. This list will be updated throughout the month as I find more fun presents to add.

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts Italy

As always, I love finding fun, weird, quirky, outside the (gift)box items and bringing them to you.

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Cookies

If you find this list helpful – please share it. Please also subscribe to my blog for future posts, and follow me on Facebook and Instagram.

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts Golden Girls Car Shade

For the Funny Mommy

Taco Repeating Talk-Back Toy from Mojimoto

Golden Girls Foldable Car Window Sunshade

A portrait of your loved one as royalty with Masterpiece Me (use coupon code Stacey15 to save 15%)

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts Word Clock

For the Techy Mom

A cool surprise tech box from Breo Box

Rechargeable Hand Warmer (great for sports moms)

Heated Socks (ditto)

Light Up Electronic Word Clock

Flameless USB Rechargeable Lighter

Toilet Bowl Rainbow Nightlight

Apple AirPods or AirPod Pros

Luxe Bidet bidet attachment

Star Projector Alarm Clock

Alexa Echo Dot

Amazon Prime Membership

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts Bright Cellars

For the Foodie Mom

A GORGEOUS Mother’s Day cake from L’Esti’s Desserts

Delicious treats like an Andes Candy Loaf from Rad Dad’s Bakeshop

Flavored vodka (like  Açaí -Blueberry) from Van Gogh Vodka

Rainbow Cookie Cake from Uncle Joey’s Rainbow Explosion

Crazy Brownies from Killer Brownies

Stuffed Cookies from Chonky Cookies

Donuts from Once Bitten Donuts

Cookies from Pacific Northwest Cookies

A personalized wine delivery from Bright Cellars (save 60% off your 1st order through this link)

Goli gummies: Apple Cider VinegarSuperfruitsSupergreensAshwagandha & Bites: CalmMulti (save 10% through these links)

Boyers Roasted Rocky Mountain Coffee

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts Blender Taco Holder

For the Kitchen Loving Mom

I Love Tacos! Taco Holders

Instant Pot 

Adjustable DIY Letter and Number Cake Pan

Letter/Number Candy Dish from Sweese or Coffeezone

Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

Üllo Wine Purifier 

Teabloom Teapot Gift Set

Duralex Blue Glass Tumblers

Instant Ace Cooking & Beverage Blender

Franklin’s Original Whirley Pop Stovetop Popcorn Machine Popper

Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt & Ice Cream Maker

Quick Defrosting Tray

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts Aloisia

Mother’s Day Gifts For The Beauty Junkie

Aloisia Beauty Essential Daily Masks

pHirm Beauty AM & PM Eye Cream

Kitsch Derma Roller

Oilz+ Shea Butter Moisturizer from Scrubz Body

Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer

Naturala Hair Growth Shampoo and Conditioner Set

DERMAPORE Pore Extractor and Serum Infuser Tool

Unique hair products from Ecoslay

Gorgeous face and body products from Chagrin Valley Soap and Salve

The Mint Chip Mama - Mom Nursing
Photo Credit: Triple E Photography

Mother’s Day Gifts for the New Mom

PumpEase Handsfree Pumping Bra

Glamourmom Nursing Tanks

Postpartum Gift Box from In Kind Box – for every gift box sold, they donate one to a family in need.

GB Pockit Stroller

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts Cozy Earth

Mother’s Day Gifts For Moms Who Like Cozy

Cozy Earth Bamboo Dress (40% off through this link, quite possibly the softest dress I’ve ever felt. Thrice Oprah’s Favorite Thing)

Tie Dye Hoodie Sweatshirt Dress with Pockets (these are all the best words)

Just Love Spaghetti Strap Nightgown & Tie Dye Thermal Pajama Set

Victorian Nightgown (my favorite purchase of 2021)

Weighted Blanket

World’s Softest Socks

Samring Women’s Button Down Pajama Set

Harry Potter Comfy Throw Blanket with Sleeves

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts Markers

For the Artsy Fartsy Mom

Coloring Brush Pen Set from Sakura Koi

Chalk Markers from Chalkola

Stand-Up Sidewalk Chalk Holder from Walkie Chalk (so you don’t have to bend)

The Mint Chip Mama - Solar Lights

Mother’s Day Gifts For The Outdoorsy Mom

Solar String Lights

Life Changing, Ultrathin Microfiber Beach Towels

Mini Movie Projector

Mystical Fire Flame Color Changer

Collapsible/Folding Freestanding Hammock or Hanging Hammock Chair

Boulder Sports Adjustable Net & Amazin’ Aces Pickleball Paddles

JOOLA Midsize Compact Table Tennis Table & Paddle Set Bundle

Flexible Phone Tripod

A hanging Wind Spinner

Ryka Summit Hiking Boots

Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern with AM/FM NOAA Weather Radio & Cell Phone Charger

One of these heavy duty backyard hose reels worth the money – from Eley Hose Reels

Pampering Mother’s Day Gifts

A massage at Massage for Wellness in Hicksville

A Facial Cleanse facial and Bio Marine Collagen Mask with Beauty Luxe Skin and Body in Great Neck

A day of zero gravity at Floatopia Float Spa and Salt Cave in Dix Hills

An aerial yoga class at Emerge Yoga in Massapequa

A spa day at Medwell Spa in Farmingdale

Woman at Adventure Course Long Island

Experiential Mother’s Day Gifts

A visit to the kate spade new york Mother’s Day Greenhouse where Moms can customize a potted plant

A treasure map hunt around the North Fork of Long Island with Greenie Supply & Tackle

An old school spin art class at Casa De Spin in Massapequa

Axe throwing at Bury the Hatchet in Brooklyn

Ropes course and zipline in the trees at The Adventure Park of Long Island in Wheatley Heights

Indoor skydiving at Urban Air in Lake Grove

A private party of in person or virtual trivia with The Big Quiz Thing

Glassblowing lessons at Urban Glass in Brooklyn

Ropes course and zipline at the beach at WildPlay Jones Beach in Wantagh

Graffiti Workshop & Street Art Walking Tour with Brooklyn Unplugged Tours in Brooklyn

Glass topped bus tour with The Ride in Manhattan

Passes for a pretty day at one of Long Island’s Gold Coast mansions and gardens

A Private Family Yoga Class with Yogi Beans

Donate a goat or other animal Heifer International

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts Planter

For The Mom That Doesn’t Fit Any of the Above

A DIY terrarium kit delivered to your door from Abby’s Garden Parties

An amazing smelling candle (like dark chocolate peppermint whipped) from Allie Cat Creative Co

Make your plants nicer with an Indoor Glass Planter from Viva Terra

Switch it up with a new trendy handbag from Popular by J & M, including my favorite “The Mint Chip Mama” Neoprene Tote

Get rid of the itch of annoying bug bites with the Bug Bite Thing or BuzzPatches

Snazzy Umbra Hooks in Sticks or Skyline 

Grow an avocado tree from a pit with AvoSeedo Bowl Set

Custom map jewelry from Talia Sari

A bracelet from Beads4Proceeds that supports YourMomCares

For the essential oil enthusiast Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine Book

Looking for a book you can’t put down Never Simple: A Memoir

If you always lose your keys O-Venture Key Ring

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts Mancala

Family Games (the gift is they’re fun to play and not annoying)

Countaloupe

Cobra Paw

Sleeping Queens

Battleship

Sequence

Mancala

Not Parent Approved

Kidquest Question Cards

Carrom Nok Hockey

Rubik’s Race

Ticket to Ride

Chicken War

The Mint Chip Mama - Mother’s Day Gifts

*I would like a diamond tiara for Mother’s Day.

Many of the items above contain Amazon Associate or brand affiliate links for your convenience. Some items were also received in exchange for an honest review. All items listed above are items I genuinely think are cool and would happily receive for one of my Mother’s Day gifts. Happy Mother’s Day!

The Top Cool and Unique Playgrounds On Long Island

After many years of searching, my list of playgrounds on Long Island is ready to go. Similar to my hike and garden roundups, this list is forever evolving.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Sweethollow Park

Playgrounds supply a fantastic opportunity for kids to play, get some exercise, and breathe in fresh air. Equally, it allows parents to take a little rest or catch up with their friends.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Sitting

We have three kids and ants in our pants, so we go to a lot of playgrounds around Long Island. We don’t mind a drive if it’s worth it, so this list is a nice selection around Long Island in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Rockville Centre

What I’ve learned the last eight years on Long Island is sometimes you find an awesome playground in a place you’d never expect. Also, sometimes schools outside of your area are great weekend destinations.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Bethpage State Park

Playgrounds on Long Island: Nassau County

The Mint Chip Mama - Bethpage State Park Playground

Bethpage State Park Playground – Bethpage

This big playground has lots of high climbing things as well as an equally big playground for big and little kids. There are also fun ride-on animals that bounce back and forth. This is a huge state park with lots of beautiful hiking trails (home to the famous Bethpage Bikeway on the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail) and tons of other stuff as well.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Eisenhower Park

Eisenhower Park Playground – East Meadow

A fun, huge park with tons of playground equipment, mini golf, batting cages, live entertainment, and lots of additional offerings.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Jones Beach

Jones Beach State Park Playground – Wantagh

This beachside playground is so much fun in all seasons. I like to stare at the ocean while my kids play on the tremendous variety of activities. Also right there is their mini golf course and WildPlay Jones Beach.

The Mint Chip Mama - Simpkin Simkin Park Playgrounds on Long Island

Simpkins Park / Garvies Point Playground – Glen Cove

My kids would vote this as their favorite playground on Long Island. This brand-new park has a high tower slide, balancing and spinning things, climbing things, and everything in between. There are lots of new destinations developing in the area, but one of our favorite museums and Welwyn Preserve (a beautiful hike) remain fantastic places to visit.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Veterans Park Rockville Centre

Veterans Park / Rockville Centre Recreation Center Playground – Rockville Centre

This is a super fun park with a splash park in the summer. One of the most unique parks we found with lots of fun and interactive climbing opportunities. We have spent hours here with my kids not wanting to leave.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Tobay Splash Park

Honorable mention: Haypath Park in Old Bethpage, Tobay Beach Spray Park (awesome on and off season) in Massapequa.

Next on my list: Upland Park in Great Neck

Playgrounds on Long Island: Suffolk County

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Andreoli Park

Andreoli Park Playground – Nesconset

This park is ideal for smaller kids with lots of imagination. There is a lot of unique things to climb on and little houses where they can play. Across the street is Gibbs Pond which my older daughter enjoyed while her little brothers played.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island East Quogue Elementary School

East Quogue Elementary School Playground – East Quogue

We found this impressive elementary school’s playground hiking out east at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. It had some distinctive climbing things I hadn’t seen before which my kids really loved. If you’re a history buff, it’s also located right near the first mailbox in the US – from 1787.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Heckscher Park

Heckscher Park Playground – Huntington

One of our favorite parks on Long Island for the water and ducks – but also home to a great playground. This park has all kind of events and a great museum. No matter the season, it is a great destination. We love it here so much.

The Mint Chip Mama - Hermann Griem Park Playgrounds

Hermann Griem Park Playground – Wheatley Heights

This park was hidden but so worth the find. It is a big park in an unexpected area and my kids loved it. There was some different equipment that they really enjoyed that reminded me of my childhood.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Lake Ronkonkoma Park

Lake Ronkonkoma Park Playground – Ronkonkoma

If you want a pretty view while your kids play in a fenced off playground this one is for you! Next to the beautiful Lake Ronkonkoma you will find this great park where all of their dreams will come true, as will yours – because there is a bathroom right there. Such a great spot to spend some time.

The Mint Chip Mama - Rocketship Playground

Rocketship Park Playground – Port Jefferson

This park has everything one could want in a playground. Waiting for your kids is a pirate ship, rocket slide, endless things to climb and so much more. Located in beautiful Port Jefferson you can make a day of it walking around their waterfront, visiting their great shops and restaurants or enjoying one of their unique festival.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Sweet Hollow Park

Sweet Hollow Park Playground – Melville

A newer park to the area built over Meyer’s Farm – one of my favorite destinations as a child. This park has spanking new equipment as well as pickle ball courts, shuffleboard courts, and exercise equipment. There is also a Little Free Library here.

Next on my list: Phelps Lane Park in Babylon

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Jones Beach 2015

Please let me know if your favorite playground is missing, we may not have “found” it yet!

Playgrounds on Long Island 2.0

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Adventure Park

When you are ready for more elevated climbing, I highly recommend one of Long Island’s Adventure Parks. With ropes courses, ziplines, climbing challenges and elevated excitement, these parks make for a great family outing.

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island Rocketship Park

Of course, if you are looking for a special occasion amusement park to visit, there is always Adventureland right in our backyard!

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island East Quogue Elementary School

Please subscribe to The Mint Chip Mama for more family fun entertainment delivered right into your mailbox! Please also check out my Instagram and Facebook pages for the most up to date finds!

The Mint Chip Mama - Playgrounds on Long Island

Tips for Keeping Kids Busy While Working From Home

I’m so excited to welcome Christina Duron back as a GUEST BLOGGER on The Mint Chip Mama!

It can be challenging to raise kids while working remotely. Just because you’re around the corner doesn’t mean you have much free time to check if your children are getting into trouble. Luckily, below you’ll find some fantastic tips for keeping kids busy while working from home that don’t involve parking them in front of the television.

Give Them a Good Book

If you have older children that are home from school while you’re at work, equipping them with an age-appropriate book to sink their teeth into can keep them occupied for hours. Younger children, who may not have strong reading comprehension, can appreciate their picture and pop-up books with engaging visuals. You can also check if your local library or an app has any compelling e-books that kids can quietly listen to.

Bring the Playground Inside

Children have a lot of energy, and it can be challenging to let them release that energy when you’re stuck indoors. Fortunately, you can provide them with a safe and regulated setting by constructing an indoor playground that allows them to spend their energy while you keep an eye on them. The key to creating an indoor playground is to choose soft materials that kids can play with without disturbing others, like foam noodles.

Arts and Crafts

Who doesn’t enjoy getting their hands dirty (preferably metaphorically) and channeling their inner artist? Keep an ample supply of art supplies on hand, such as crayons, construction paper, clay, and coloring books, so that your kids can express themselves creatively whenever they choose. You should buy charcoal, paints, brushes, sketch pads, and canvases for older children so they can learn how to create spectacular paintings.

Take a Break Together

Everyone needs a breath of fresh air now and again. Take your kids outside for a stroll on your break. Spend some time in nature or in a park to do some sightseeing before heading back home if you have some extra leisure time. That way, you get to fit in some quality time with your kids while they burn off some of their energy.

If you ever feel overwhelmed while juggling parental obligations and your job, remember that you can always fall back on these tips for keeping kids busy while working from home. Hopefully, the more your children become accustomed to change in their environment, the more they will relax and understand that you have your responsibilities to carry out.

Returning To Trader Joe’s & Experiencing Pandemic PTSD Two Years To The Day Of My Last Visit

Today found me returning to Trader Joe’s for the first time in two years. Literally two years. The last time I walked their aisles was March 9, 2020.

I used to go weekly.

Later that day in 2020 – while standing in our cul-de-sac as my kids played – I received an email that the far away coronavirus we heard about had infiltrated our school district and school was closing for two weeks.

As all the moms texted like chickens without heads, we wondered what would come.

March 10, 2020 – not knowing what to do – I took my two older kids (my youngest’s nursery school was still open) to the New York Botanical Garden’s Orchid Show. I finally got tickets after years of wanting to go, because now all three of my kids were in school full time. Oh, the foreshadowing irony

The Mint Chip Mama - Trader Joe's
2014

What Happened Next

Three days passed.

Then the shit hit the fan.

You were there, I won’t get into it. We can fast forward two years of masks, vaccines, debates, death, testing, long term complications, loss, anguish, ups, downs, fights, hugs, tears, judgement, and a lot of wine.

The Mint Chip Mama - returning to Trader Joe's Post Pandemic
2016

Fast Forward

And here I am, March 9th, 2022 at the same Trader Joe’s.

It’s not that we haven’t gotten food from Trader Joe’s in two years, or that I haven’t been to a store in two years. It’s just that my husband – who formerly commuted to Manhattan and now commutes to our kitchen – has done the shopping.

The Mint Chip Mama - returning to Trader Joe's Post Pandemic
2018

Returning To Trader Joe’s

He began going because I was too scared to go, and he is a gallant knight.

Then, I believe it became a reasonable escape for him to leave our loony bin for a bit.

Ultimately, I believe it became part of the rote responsibilities which he absorbed.  

It’s not that I couldn’t or wouldn’t go. It’s just that I didn’t go.

The Mint Chip Mama - returning to Trader Joe's Post Pandemic
March 2022

So I Walked In.

It was crazy that after two full years my body simply returned to auto pilot.

I walked through the seemingly same aisles that I walked pre-pandemic when life was normal. I looked at all the food that I used to purchase and picked things up like I was there last week.

In front of me it was the same with the same employees who I chatted with countless times about life.

I looked for the frozen mini tacos that I used to quickly make before running my three kids – alone – to whatever pre-pandemic activity they did in 2020. They were not there.

I saw the fish sticks and smiled.

I thought of a time that these pre-cooked simple meals saved my sanity. My mind wandered to what life was like before.

2018

Before

These humble meals have since been usurped by the beautiful lavish dinners my husband cooks every night (which I appreciate), but it made me miss fish sticks. It made me think I used to do it all alone, and now I don’t.

Suddenly, I found myself sobbing by the “Everything But The Elote” seasoning.

Nothing there had changed.

But everything had changed.

The Mint Chip Mama - returning to Trader Joe's Post Pandemic

After

If you know me, you know how much I love Trader Joe’s and that it’s one of my happy places. I don’t know if I was crying at the normalcy of it or the loss of everything else.

Or the feeling that two full years passed, and it didn’t feel like a second had gone by.

I’m quite positive one of the reasons it felt normal was the multitude of maskless people (New York lifted the indoor mask mandate) in front of me. However, many were still in masks.

I don’t know if this made it an easier pill to swallow or a validation of a time portal.

The Mint Chip Mama - returning to Trader Joe's Post Pandemic

Returning to Trader Joe’s Post Pandemic: It Was The Same But Different

Like many others, my phone has gotten me through the last two years by experiencing life through a screen. Some of my favorite Instagram accounts are Trader Joe’s fan sites.

Funny enough I made genuine human connections with some of these people and had nice memories flood through as I passed items we discussed, sometimes more than grown adults should discuss food.

My thoughts then turned to how many nameless, faceless connections I’ve made in the last two years through social media united by the common love of food or Legos.

My shopping was done and it was time to leave. This was a deep shopping trip.

Returning to Trader Joe’s Auto Pilot

As I did hundreds of times, I told the cashier I brought my own bags and would pack as she beeped. We moved into our choreographed dance that was dark for the last 730 days. Somehow my Tetris-like packing had not falterer.

Auto pilot.

Two years.

Wow.

The theater is back.

Tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of receiving that email while cluelessly standing outside with my kids.

Two years.

The Mint Chip Mama - returning to Trader Joe's Post Pandemic

Two years.

Two years.

It has been a crazy two years. While I don’t want to debate personal beliefs, I feel that I can say that with confidence, and you can agree.

But this was an unexpected reaction. This reaction was filled with all the stress of the last two years, all the tears, all the fights, all the saying “no” to my kids, and everything else we have endured. I also acknowledge that many had an astronomically harder time and lost much more than me.

I know that many people have moved “back to normal” (I fucking hate that phrase) at a faster rate than me – and I’m OK with that – but I was not prepared for today.

I was not expecting such an emotional reaction to grocery shopping.

Maybe it hit me so hard because the store was the same, but I was different. Similarly, to when you come home after your first semester of college and see your home life through your new adult eyes and it feels kinda weird.

I don’t know.

But there was solace in the normalcy of Trader Joe’s. Nevertheless, I noticed one remarkable change. The sample café and coffee station – once a favorite spot – was now a contactless wine display.

Laughing to myself I said – now that is one hilarious metaphor.

The Mint Chip Mama - New York Botanical Garden Orchid Show 2020
The New York Botanical Garden‘s Orchid Show
March 10, 2020

Common Myths About Growing Houseplants You Should Forget

I’m so excited to host another GUEST BLOGGER on The Mint Chip Mama! Please welcome: Christina Duron!

As a gardener, you’ve probably heard all kinds of common myths about growing houseplants that, in the end, neither help nor harm plants. Every experienced green thumb thinks they have the best strategies for getting lush, beautiful results in the shortest amount of time. But if you’ve heard any of these common myths about growing houseplants, you should forget them.

Houseplants Need Constant Watering

If you’re new to growing houseplants, you might find the urge to water your leafy children constantly. After all, plants need water to grow! They’re thirsty!

Yes, but overwatering your plants can be just as harmful—essentially, you could drown them. Instead of watering at the same time every day, stick your finger in the soil and only water if the soil feels dry. If not, then leave the plant alone. Get a feel for your plant’s water intake, and set up a routine from there.

Plants Grow Bigger in Bigger Pots

If you’re growing a sizeable indoor houseplant, go with a bigger pot. But don’t think you can upgrade your modest plant to Jack’s beanstalk because you opted for the bigger pot. You want your plants to have room to grow, but they produce only the roots they need and no more. The best strategies to maximize your plant’s growth are proper watering, adequate sunlight, and enrichments such as indoor plant fertilizer.

Yellow Leaves Mean Overwatering

If you’ve come across some yellow leaves on your houseplant, don’t panic! They’re common problems, but too often, people jump to the conclusion that they’re due to overwatering. Yellow leaves can be symptoms of overwatering, but that’s just one of the many possible problems. Your plant could be getting too little water, not enough sunlight, or excess fertilizer—or perhaps the soil quality is poor in nutrients. There are numerous reasons for the leaves to yellow, so research your specific plant to better diagnose the culprit.

Indoor Plants Go Dormant in Winter

We all get a little sluggish in the winter, even plants! Growing houseplants in the winter can be a great way to combat the bleak, cold months of the year and remind ourselves of spring. There’s a myth, though, that houseplants go dormant when the temperatures drop and the snow falls, like a grizzly bear in Alaska. Winter offers less sunlight for indoor plants and usually a drier climate, so houseplants tend to grow more slowly, but that doesn’t mean they’re hibernating. So many people have been growing indoor plants for so long that some dubious myths and tales are bound to have popped up.

When it comes to your green friends, forget these common myths about growing houseplants and cultivate your own strategies and tactics!

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