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KJ

1 is better than 3 is better than 20

By KJ / Friday, April 13, 2018

Turns out more stuff equals less focus, for toddlers, and for us.

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8 Reasons Why There Is No Salad with Dinner

By KJ / Tuesday, April 10, 2018

There is a leek in the soup, thus covering the vegetable requirement. Made salad last night. It’s Caesar salad! That counts! What if every body just eats an apple? Can we do that? Can that be okay? I broke the salad spinner. I put out carrots and cucumber and dressing after school and they ate that. That lettuce looks wilted. I just can’t, okay? I don’t exactly hate salad. I eat salad other people make. But I hate making salad, […]

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chocolate dipped peeps image

My Day, By the Numbers

By KJ / Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Hand-dipped chocolate-covered Peeps eaten: 3 (1 pink, 2 yellow) (yellow are better) Words added to novel: 1,125 Children who had annual physical: 2 Milkshakes purchased to make up for shots received at annual physical: 1 Texts sent to Jess and Sarina:15 Texts sent, other: 26 Emails sent: 22, not counting misc replies within conversations or those sent via magical phone Children driven to or picked up from school, sports or activities: 6 (2 more than once, 1 not mine) Children […]

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#DrivingTwoCars

By KJ / Monday, April 2, 2018

Episode 100 Show Notes: #DrivingTwoCars kjdellantonia.com NY Times Well The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, Jess Lahey #AmWriting with Jess and KJ The Atlantic Vermont Public Radio Grown and Flown KJ’s How to Be a Happier Parent (even when I’m not)   #DrivingTwoCars Sarina Bowen Laurie Abkemeier KIWI Magazine Bittersweet (True North #1), Sarina Bowen The Creative Penn Podcast, Joanna Penn The Art of the Book Proposal, Eric Maisel […]

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So I wrote this mantra

By KJ / Friday, March 16, 2018

I wrote ten mantras, actually, and I dubbed them Ten Mantras for Happier Parents. (Ten secrets? Ten sayings? Aphorisms, mottos, truisms? Sometimes thesaurus.com is not your friend.)  Number seven has been giving me a really hard time of late. Here it is: You can be happy when your children aren’t. I’ve been struggling to live that lately. One of my kids has been unhappy, for reasons biggish but not catastrophic, and it’s been bringing me, and all of us, down. […]

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Why You Need a ‘Buy It Later’ Button

By KJ / Monday, March 5, 2018

This is from my weekly email. Normally, I like to have the email essay go only to subscribers, but I had so many requests to share this that I posted it here. If you’d like to get my weekly short essays on How to Be a Happier Parent (even when I’m not), you should subscribe! It’s free and fun and usually cheerful. Except for that one time with the car thing.) Here’s what we did last week: swapped rooms. One […]

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Guest Room, or Bedroom?

By KJ / Monday, January 22, 2018

Ok, I’m torn. Here’s the issue: we live in a 4 bedroom house. That’s a nice big house, right? One bedroom is mine and my husband’s (that would be non-negotiable). Our two sons sleep in one, our two daughters in the other, and the third (much the smallest, but with a bathroom) is a guest room. There have been complaints. My daughters are very different people, and they would much prefer not to share a room. So one concocted a plan. […]

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I have a book cover! How to be a Happier Parent arrives for pre-order.

By KJ / Thursday, January 18, 2018

  How to Be a Happier Parent appears for the first time in online bookstores this week! I’m so thrilled. I love the book, and I’m looking forward to sharing it. For now, here’s what my publisher has to say about it: An encouraging guide to helping parents find more happiness in their day-to-day family life, from the former lead editor of the New York Times’ Motherlode blog In all the writing and reporting KJ Dell’Antonia has done on families […]

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For Kids (and Adults) Habits and Plans Beat Resolutions

By KJ / Friday, January 5, 2018

Goal-setting feels overwhelming to many kids. Try these simple steps to help them make a change feel do-able for a new year.

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How to Buy Better, Fewer Holiday Gifts for Kids

By KJ / Thursday, December 14, 2017

This year, spend less, stress less and make everyone happier.

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Rules for Happier Parents: Children Change. When We Let Them

By KJ / Friday, November 3, 2017

  Here is a list of some of the labels I was given as a child: Always Late. Picky Eater. Hates All Sports. Makes Excuses. Messy and Disorganized. Doesn’t Play Well with Others. It took time (decades, in some cases), but I’ve outgrown every one of those. (You’re still welcome to use stubborn, impulsive and loud-mouthed, however). I’m a foodie, an athlete, a hockey fan, and a reliable worker who never misses a deadline. But when my parents are around, […]

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You Are the Parent I Wish I Was.

By KJ / Friday, November 3, 2017

We’re all doing what we think is important, and we’re all doubting, wondering if another road is smoother or more likely to include a bus stop for success.

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Rules for Happier Parents: The Road to Jack O’Lantern Glory is Paved with Pumpkin Guts and Tears

By KJ / Friday, October 27, 2017

Cook a simple meal, do a load of laundry, clean a bathroom, carve a pumpkin. Life skills, man.

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The Blessing of an Ordinary Week

By KJ / Friday, October 20, 2017

Soak up the joy of ordinary days, and you build up a reservoir of peace and contentment that keeps you strong when the storms come.

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October Book Recommendations, Part 1

By KJ / Friday, October 6, 2017

  A memoir from an accomplished novelist is always a gift, but this one stands out. When you tell me it’s about growing up in and marrying within the Orthodox Jewish culture, I’m hooked–but when you tell me it’s some of the best writing I’ve seen about growing up, evolving your beliefs and finding your own way outside of the stories you’ve been told—and have told yourself—then I’m blown away, and I was.         How many real […]

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You Do Not Have to Go to a Bad Party

By KJ / Friday, October 6, 2017

That kid who is yelling at you from the kitchen, ranting and angry? He’s throwing a bad party—and you don’t have to go.

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September Book Recommendations, Part 5

By KJ / Friday, September 29, 2017

  If you’re a fan of practical parenting books, especially the kind with lots of amalgamated-from-my-client-list-with-real-identity-disguised examples of people who are doing it worse than you, I highly recommend this one. The “13 Things” in question really are things that we’ll all be happier if we don’t do (make your child the center of the universe, take shortcuts to avoid discomfort) and will often make you pause and take a hard look at what you really do as a parent […]

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Man wakes woman with bugle

Say Good Morning.

By KJ / Friday, September 29, 2017

For a long time, when I head upstairs to make sure everyone is up in the morning, I’ve been walking into my sons’ room saying, cheerfully, “time to get up!” or “time to face the day!” And for the past week or so, my oldest son has been rolling over and saying “Good morning.” I answered him, of course. “Good morning!” I liked it. It’s so much nicer, I thought, when he says good morning instead of something like, “I […]

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September Book Recommendations, Part 4

By KJ / Monday, September 25, 2017

In honor of the fall cooking season, I’ve got two food-related memoirs this week.   Growing up torn between a sugar-loving German baker and a spice-loving Arab dad, the author was bound to learn to cook. This is the story of how she reconciled those two very flamboyant, and very different, personalities within herself.               Girl cooks in crazy prestigious NYC kitchens and then moves to rural off-the-grid Minnesota? That’s a story I wanted […]

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The One Thing You Can Do When the Homework Is Killing You All

By KJ / Monday, September 25, 2017

We’ve all been there. Your child is frustrated, and insisting the teacher never showed her how to graph the results of the word problem. The 210 page reading assignment had him up half the night; the “measure four rooms in your house” question took the combined efforts of the whole family to complete and taught your kid nothing, and seriously, who does the second grade teacher think is really doing the online research on lemurs? You’re annoyed, you’re confused, everyone […]

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September Book Recommendations, Part 3

By KJ / Friday, September 15, 2017

  I was so thrilled to find this memoir of a young German woman’s experience as an immigrant and newbie farmer in Vermont in the 1940’s. It’s both a classic city slicker in the big country story (love those) and a glorious, contemporaneous depiction of another time, with party lines and pony carts and train travel. I’m treasuring every page.         Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies framework won’t fully explain you or everyone around you, but once you’re […]

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School transition bringing out your child’s more challenging side? Slow down, give in, let things go.

By KJ / Friday, September 15, 2017

It’s happening again. Every year, just as school starts, we find ourselves in a place I thought we’d left behind. The kids on edge, constantly provoking, teasing and pushing one another’s buttons. One child’s skin so thin she might burst. Tantrums, oddities and tics return. What’s up? You’d think something big was going on and—oh. Yeah. School’s started. A new teacher. A new grade. New expectations and old ones that have never been easy. It’s a challenging time for all […]

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September Book Recommendations, Part 2

By KJ / Friday, September 8, 2017

This week, Mary Laura Philpott was a guest on the #AmWriting podcast. Our topic: #Youandyourbookstore, on writers forming relationships with the bookstores we love. I’ve done this before, but Mary Laura convinced me to go all in, and from now on the links to books in this email will be to Indiebound. Click, and you can get the book ordered from your local—or any—independent bookstore. It’s been a good week for reading. Here’s why:       To Siri with Love is Judith Newman’s […]

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Resistance Is Useless

By KJ / Friday, September 8, 2017

You’re going to read the bedtime story, make the extra orthodontist appointment or pick up the kid who missed the bus. You might as well do it with grace.  Some days (weeks, months) are frustrating. All anyone wants from you is everything—every spare minute, every ounce of patience, and oh, that sandwich you just made for your own lunch looks good too. Everywhere you look, there’s another octopus, all grabbing arms and suckers, holding you in place until they use […]

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September Book Recommendations, Part 1

By KJ / Friday, September 1, 2017

      Guesswork: A Reckoning with Loss I’ve just started this slim memoir in essays, a history of reckoning with grief and loss through exploring a new country on the outside and an old landscape within. It’s lyrical, poem-y, not a one-sitting read.           For many kids, back-to-school means back into the social ocean after a summer spent swimming in quieter ponds. If you’re looking for advice on helping your teen or tween navigate the […]

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Take Help

By KJ / Friday, September 1, 2017

Oh, no, thanks–I’m fine. Got it all under control. Sure, one child broke her arm by falling off the zip line in our yard while we were hosting her grade’s back-to-school party, the day before school started. And we discovered that another needed to switch schools completely three days before. Oh, and there’s no water in the house this morning (plumbing problem), and there wasn’t yesterday, either. And we’re out of sugar. And there’s this emergency orthodontist appointment in fifteen […]

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August Book Recommendations, Part Two

By KJ / Thursday, August 17, 2017

I’m looking for stories of families who added more unstructured time to their summer this year. If that’s you, I’d love to hear from you. Reply email to this missive will indeed reach me. It’s been a good week for reading. Here’s why: The Outrun, Amy Liptrot A memoir of addiction, to alcohol be even more to the speed of city life, this is the story of Liptrot’s return to the Orkney Islands and a year spent largely in her […]

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Back to School: Friend or Foe?

By KJ / Thursday, August 17, 2017

I wasn’t ready for summer to end, or kids to go back to school, until suddenly I was.

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August Book Recommendations, Part One

By KJ / Monday, August 7, 2017

Hey—want to win a totally random book and help me spread the word about my weekly missives on making this whole parenting thing a joyful part of our lives? I’m conducting a Random Book Mailing. I’ve got a stack of 19 recent releases to give away, including the two novels below. Do something—anything you’d like—to encourage friends to join the list, then let me know you did by Monday, August 7, 2017. (You can also just reply to this email.) I’ll drop everyone’s […]

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Want a happier end to summer? Try this: Sometimes, if you see something, don’t say something.

By KJ / Monday, August 7, 2017

  Last week, we took out annual summer family vacation: a trip to Cape Cod, where we stay in the same place and do the same things, every year, which still manages to always be just different enough. As we often do, we took a fishing trip. We saw whales. We dropped lines and jigged for mackerel to use as bait. We zoomed at top speed to a place where the striped bass might or might not be—and for the most […]

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#Priorities

By KJ / Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Episode 63 Show Notes: #Priorities kjdellantonia.com NY Times Well The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, Jess Lahey #AmWriting with Jess and KJ The Atlantic Vermont Public Radio Grown and Flown #Priorities Scrivener Bullet Journal #AmReading Razor Girl, Carl Hiassen Peter Mayle Chomp, Carl Hiassen The Decent Proposal: A Novel, Kemper Donovan The Other Alcott, Elise Hooper All of a Kind Family, Sydney Taylor Little Women, Louisa May Alcott Pride […]

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It’s common, and easy, to relax tech rules for the summer. But what if you didn’t?

By KJ / Friday, May 26, 2017

There is plenty to do. It’s just not stuff that will easily sate and sedate you.

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The end of the school year might be harder on your kid than you think.

By KJ / Friday, May 19, 2017

As much as your children may be looking forward to summer, they may also find it hard to see the end of the school year—even if they never admit it or recognize it.

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What’s It Like to Eat at Your Kid’s House?

By KJ / Friday, May 5, 2017

Something—some mention, some sound, some elusive flavor—reminded me of Captain Crunch yesterday. Captain Crunch, those indefinably flavored rectanguloids best known for scraping all the skin off the roof of your mouth as they stubbornly held their crunch even in the face of the deepest bowl of milk. Thus the name, I guess. But in addition to the flavor, Captain Crunch means something else to me. It means breakfast at Stephanie Ellis’ house, the girl who lived across the street from […]

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If your kid’s in the car, your phone should never be in your hand.

By KJ / Friday, April 28, 2017

Your future drivers are watching. Spring is Driver’s Ed season in New England, and my oldest child starts next week. But there’s one thing about driving that I’ve been teaching him for years: It’s not compatible with mobile phones. If you aren’t putting that phone aside while you drive already, start doing it now, in a big, loud, pointed way. “I’m putting my phone in my bag because I’m driving!” you should say. “I’m not answering my phone even on […]

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My kid has a “project” due. What’s ok to help with, and what’s not?

By KJ / Monday, March 27, 2017

Teachers assign projects to our kids for a reason, and it’s not to see what their parents can do.

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Before You Limit Your Kids’ Screen Time, Should You Look at Your Own?

By KJ / Wednesday, February 1, 2017

New research has parents of kids 8-18 reporting an astonishing 7.5 hours of personal screen time a day. If that’s true, how can we help our kids learn to limit themselves?

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#AmWriting’s Tax Tips for Writers Download

By KJ / Friday, January 27, 2017

Episode 39 of the #AmWriting podcast was all about taxes for writers. Jess stunned me with her organization and then laid out a plan to follow for 2017, and we dished about getting things together and organizing our deductions and whatnot for 2016. To go with it, Jess made a Tax Tips for Writers download, and then I lined it all up so that you guys can get it. Just sign up here, and our Tax Tips for Writers download […]

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Win a Book to Change How You Think About “Busy”

By KJ / Thursday, January 12, 2017

I’ve changed the way I think about time thanks to Laura Vanderkam’s work—and now I’m giving away two copies of her book (and a fun copper bracelet). Read why, and enter.

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#ReadySetGo2: Setting #WriterResolutions for 2017

By KJ / Friday, December 30, 2016

For me, one of the biggest barriers to setting goals is stopping doing things long enough to decide what I want to do. On Episode 34 of the #AmWriting podcast, Jessica Lahey and I talked writerly goals: specifically, what makes a good goal, and how to set some in honor of this traditionally goal-setting time of the year. For Episode 35, we’re actually setting those goals—which means getting them down on paper. It also means checking in on last year’s […]

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My Word for 2017: Linger.

By KJ / Friday, December 30, 2016

Linger. That’s my word this year. Professionally, personally, with family, with friends, over essays and book chapters and all the work I put out into the world or keep to myself, I want to linger. I I want to take time, to stay at the table, to rest in the silence or the laughter. In my work, I want to re-read, to edit, to set aside and revisit. And, of course, with the book I’m working on, I need to […]

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The Workout I Actually DO

By KJ / Thursday, December 29, 2016

I don’t even have to make a resolution around exercising this year, because—after years of trying things and failing, I’ve actually found a workout I can do, I will do, and I don’t really mind doing.

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#ReadySetGoal: Non-Resolutions to Guide You Into a Productive New Year

By KJ / Friday, December 23, 2016

On Episode 34 of the #AmWriting podcast, Jessica Lahey and I talked writerly goals: specifically, what makes a good goal, and how to set some in honor of this traditionally goal-setting time of the year. We started off by defining a goal by what it’s not—it’s not a resolution. Or maybe it kind of is, but resolutions are often big and amorphous, hard to measure and somewhat doomed. (“I will be kinder. I will be a better daughter. I will […]

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You want to give experiences, not things—but that’s not as easy as it sounds. 

By KJ / Monday, December 12, 2016

Ok, you know the drill. I know the drill. The best gifts, for our over-indulged children and our cluttered homes and the simple lifestyle we aspire to in the post-Kondo world are experiences, not things. Got it. But that’s a hard standard to live up to, right? Experiences take time and effort. Having given them, you, too, often must experience them. And as much as I don’t feel the need to add more Lego to our collection, I also don’t really […]

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KJ’s Best Gifts for Writers

By KJ / Monday, December 12, 2016

In the most recent episode of the #AmWriting podcast, co-host Jessica Lahey and I offered up—along with my December Keep Your Butt in the Chair Manifesto and a reminder that even though the holidays are upon us, WRITERS GONNA WRITE—a list of some of our favorite writer-y things that we’ve aquired over the years. Mine, I realize, skewed awfully heavy on the Decoupage Tissue Box covers–but I am telling you, these are great. Everyone needs a tissue box cover, or at least, […]

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The Get Your Butt in the Chair Manifesto: It’s Up to You Whether You Write Today.

By KJ / Friday, December 9, 2016

I read the Get Your Butt in the Chair Manifesto, below, today on the #AmWriting podcast I do with Jessica Lahey, after a day of cursing out every interruption even as I accepted and, shall we say, enabled them (especially those “interruptions” called Messages, Twitter and Facebook). (You’ll find it in Episode 32.)   I know it’s December. I know things are tough. I know that, quite literally, EVERY SINGLE PERSON I have interviewed this week has at least one […]

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It is harder to raise the comeback kid than the golden child. And better.

By KJ / Friday, December 2, 2016

What you want for your child now may not lead to what you want for your child in the future.

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The Voices In My Head Said Not to Write This

By KJ / Monday, November 21, 2016

Who the hell put an email with the subject line “You can write faster than you think” in my in-box? Go inspire someone else, Jeff Goins. I can’t write at all.

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It’s Ok to Be Happy When Things Aren’t Grate

By KJ / Wednesday, November 16, 2016

“I hate you, Mommy. You are not grate. You are NOT GRATE, Mommy.”

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Win the November Big Box O’ Books!

By KJ / Monday, November 14, 2016

a Rafflecopter giveaway I did a drawing for my book drawing. This box is heavy–I’ve got 13 books stacked here to go into it. (I have to get new copies of “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” and “A Field Guide to Lies” because I’m giving my copy of Readers to a friend, and I want to keep A Field Guide to Lies–but it will be ready to go out next week, and full of books for reading and sharing. […]

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