Stacey Loscalzo

Latest Posts

Aug 05

Goop Questionnaire

by Stacey

My amazingly talented friend Lindsey at A Design So Vast recently posted a great questionnaire so I thought I would ‘borrow’ it and use it for my own post.

Here goes and please share your answers in the comments if you are so inclined!

Go-to weeknight recipe?

I love the turkey taco recipe in the great cookbook Keepers. It is one of the few meals that we all (loosely defined) like.

turkey

First job?

My first summer job was as a camp counselor and my first grown up job was as a speech therapist at a tiny hospital in rural Maryland.

Next job?

I left my hospital job when I moved back to Richmond and went to work as a public school speech therapist.

Hometown?

Rumford, RI right outside of Providence.

What would you put on your neon sign?

Every end is a new beginning.

Wouldn’t leave home without?

My phone, a book and lip balm.

Essential beauty products?

Lip balm, bronzer and moisturizer.

Wouldn’t fly without?

See ‘wouldn’t leave home without.’

Things you buy in bulk?

I have actually stopped buying in bulk. I forget what I’ve bought and end up buying it again which becomes a storage and a waste problem.

Favorite book?

Ugh. I heard someone once say when they can’t answer a ‘favorite’ question, they just say the most current so I’ll go with that strategy. Right now I am reading and really, really liking, The Martian by Andy Weir

First celebrity crush?

Tom Cruise.

Favorite movie?

I’m sure there are more appropriate choices here but truth be told I think it might be Bridesmaid. I fast forward the bridal shop scene because it is terrible but I could watch the airplane scene all day long and never get tired of it.

People on speed dial?

Rob, Caroline, my mom, my mother in law and a few friends.

Preferred form of exercise?

I wish I knew! I have been to three gyms this year alone trying to find the correct combination of workouts that don’t hurt my back while toning and giving me the right amount of cardio.

Drink of choice?

Coffee.

Proudest moment?

Delivering both girls without medication.

Ok… your turn. Go!

 

 

 

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Aug 03

Picture Book Favorites: Belated July Edition

by Stacey

Oops! Looks like the month of July went by without a Picture Book Favorites post. It certainly wasn’t from lack of great picture books so here goes. Better late than never!

float

Float by Daniel Miyares. I posted about Float the other day on Instagram which but the way is my new favorite social media platform but more on that another day.. For now, Float is a wordless picture that even people who don’t like wordless picture books will love. It celebrates color, creativity and imagination. What could be wrong with that?

baby

Naked written by Michael Ian Black & illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. How did I not read this book on the very first day it was released? This book is hysterical as a read aloud or even a read-togther. What early reader would not like to read word ‘naked’ over and over again. Seriously, go and get this book immediately if you haven’t already.

bear

A Library Book for Bear written by Bonny Becker & illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton. Mouse and Bear are two of our favorite picture book characters and they do not disappoint in this tale of how to love a library.

koala

I Don’t Like Koala written by Sean Ferrell & illustrated by Charles Santos shows how one little boy comes to realize the importance of one little stuffed friend. The illustrations in this one are really unique and worth exploring. Santos is an animator and it shows but in a really ‘picture booky’ kind of way. It sounds weird, I know but you’ll see what I mean!

night

The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein is one of the best combinations of pictures and words I have seen in a long time. In this story a little boy explores the night time yard and then is treated an awesome surprise.

mattie

When Aunt Mattie Got her Wings by Petra Mathers. Do not read this book if you aren’t comfortable crying in front of little readers. I have never known exactly what book to recommend when people ask for picture books that deal with death. I now have the perfect, perfect book. Truly, this book is perfect. Read it and you’ll see what I mean.

 

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Jul 28

The Power of Family Tradition

by Stacey

beach

Last week, Katherine and I read See You Next Year by Andrew Larsen and Todd Stewart. See You Next Year tells the story of a family’s return to their favorite beach spot. It got me thinking about a piece I wrote last year. Our family travels to LBI every summer and I am often torn. There are so many places to go in this world and I wonder if we should venture further and do something new and different. But then I have moments like the one I write about below and I read books like See You Next Year and I am reminded of the power of tradition.

see

A blue ball and an orange ball bounce on the waves, floating slowly back to the beach. These balls have taken the same ride thousands of times over the past 30 years. No matter how far you throw them, they always return. When I first vacationed with my now husband we were in our mid twenties. In the bottom of his mother’s canvas beach bag were two plastic balls with the name Rob scrawled on them in child-like scribble. I have a hard time keeping track of a grocery list over the course of the week but this woman had kept two plastic balls in her beach bag for decades.

Earlier this year, I sat quietly at the beach and heard, “Want to throw the balls?” Katherine, my youngest and her favorite cousin Jason, stood in the sand, drying off after a swim in the rough surf. He jumped up and they ran off, their plan clear despite the few words exchanged. They reached in to the bottom of their grandma’s bag, each taking a small plastic ball, the size of their fists. For years, the grown ups stood at the edge of the water with them, afraid that as toddlers and pre-schoolers, they might follow the balls deep in to the ocean. Now they are eight and nine and ready to exert their independence. We move our chairs down closer to the water but we do not join them.

“Remember the time the life guard had to get the ball?” my sister-in-law asked.

“A life guard? I thought it was a surfer?” my husband thought out loud.

“No, “ I said, “It was that life guard. The one with the curly blond hair.”

And on and on we went. The time the water was too cold to play, the time the wind blew the balls in to the group of swimmers in front of the life-guard chair. The time the kids fought over who would throw the blue ball and who would throw the orange one.

Each year, I think we should plan a different vacation. The world is large and our time on it is short. I wonder why we go to the same house at the same beach year after year. And then we have conversations like the one above and I remember the value of tradition in our lives.

Family traditions give us a shared story. We become connected through the tales we tell and these stories provide comfort and familiarity in a world full of change. These shared stories bring together families across geographical distance and across generations. They become a piece of the family puzzle that we can all understand. Family traditions provide predictability to children who benefit from knowing what comes next. In a world where the adults make the majority of the decisions, children revel in knowing how the story will end. With these shared stories we collect memories and comfort.

As Katherine and Jason throw the balls again and again in to the ocean, I close my eyes and imagine these same balls being thrown by my husband and his sister in to the same waves thirty years earlier. The sun begins to get lower in the sky and I reach behind my chair to put on my cover-up. At the same time, the kids run up from the water. They have heard the loud bell of the ice cream truck and one tradition blends easily in to the next. Already I know that Katherine will choose a strawberry frozen lemonade while Jason’s will be lemon. The ice cream truck offers dozens of choices but these will be theirs. And with that, the day continues.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jul 21

From Where I Stand

by Stacey

I have been looking for a great daily photo project for a long time and I finally think I have found one. Thanks to a great on-line group led by the super talented Beryl Young, I joined My_365 only 194 days late. While it’s a bit strange to start a #365 project in July I’m taking the better late than never approach.

I have really fallen in love with Instagram lately and have found that this group is a way to expand the experience that I have there.

One of the most recent prompts, was “From When I Stand”. I found weeds growing up through the slats of our deck and they made me giggle. I thought they would be a great addition to my “From Where I Stand” photo.

feet

 

After I took the picture, I was looking back through my camera and realized just how many times I have taken informal ‘From Where I Stand’ pictures. They do such a good job of capturing a small moment in time.

Here are a few of my favorites…

feet

 

 

 

Katherine and I found flower petals on an early summer walk. The colors were so pretty I just had to capture them. feet

 

 

 

These were my toes on the first day at the pool. There is something so great about the very first time sitting outside on that very first pool day. feet

I just loved this collection of pinks. feetHere are my toes on our boat ride around Nantucket on our recent trip.

stepAnd I do know there are no toes here but I love this photo from my recent visit to Storm King. The message on these giant binoculars is pretty great. Thinking I might need to post this photo around the house. There are so very many chances each day to ‘step up.’

 

 

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Jul 20

Announcing the First Tween Us Book Club

by Stacey

bookI love my Writers Circle Read Like a Writer Book Club for many reasons. The readers love the books they chose. We have exciting and meaningful conversations about literature. And the stories have inspired the readers to craft their very own imaginative tales.

I crossed my fingers that all of this would happen but now something else wonderful has come from this experience that I hadn’t predicted at all.

I have long been a fan of Shannan Younger, the wise and creative writer at Tween Us. As a mother of two tweens, I can relate to all of Shannan’s words. Sometimes her posts make me laugh. Sometimes I cry and I always feel sure I have found an ally in this tricky time of parenting. Given all of this, you can imagine how happy I was when Shannan reached out to me on Facebook. She thought it would be fun if we collaborated to create an on-line tween book club. I started typing ‘yes’ before I even finished reading her message.

Please visit Shannan’s site for a summary of how our book club will work.

And in case you want a sneak preview…

fish

We chose Fish in a Tree for our August read. We hope that parents and tweens will read this book together and then join us on Facebook on August 17th for a discussion.

Shannan asked me to share why I loved Fish in a Tree and here is what I had to say:

“I have always loved the quote, ‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.’

Apparently, Lynda Mullaly Hunt also likes these lines because she wrote a wonderful book based on its premise. Fish in a Tree tells Ally’s story as a student with undiagnosed dyslexia. Whether you are a student who loves school or one like Ally who has yet to find her place, you will find lots to relate to in this tale of friendship, bravery and wisdom.”

I hope you will read and join us on August 17th. I can’t wait to discuss this book with all of you.

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Jul 15

Quick Lit: July 2015

by Stacey

Today is one of my favorite days in the blogosphere. Quick Lit day at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

This month, I learned a lesson about my reading preferences. I am not a fan of hugely long books. The story can be great but if it takes me ages to make it even half way through, there’s a chance I won’t ever make it to the end.  This month, I began read Stephen King’s It and I was immediately drawn in to the story. Somehow, I have never read any old school Stephen King and I thought it was time. I was hooked initially  but I became totally overwhelmed by the length of the book. I do want to get back to it soon but I had to put it down and read something that I could finish in a realistic amount of time. Fortunately, I found two page turners and a middle grade read which were just right.

I’d love to hear what you are loving this summer. Please share!

lucky

 

kill

circus

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Jul 13

Read Like a Writer Book Club Update

by Stacey

This week I held my first session of our Writers Circle Read Like a Writer Book Club. We have a great group. The kids are rising 7th and 8th graders and we have two boys and three girls. It is really a perfect mix.

For months, I have been reading one middle grade book after another trying to figure out the best options for the group. I feel really strongly that kids and tweens especially should choose what they read. I am even ok with them reading pretty junky stuff when they read on their own as long as they are reading. I believe that if a kid loves reading, they will eventually gravitate to the good stuff so they really should be given free reign for quite awhile.

That said, for this experience my goal was to find a handful of books for the kids to choose from that would be good for group discussion. I wanted to find a mix of genres, lengths and main characters. I wanted this for the kids and also to make our conversations lively. I began our first session with book talks of the following five titles.

fish

 

cross

night

war

circus

Both boys choose Crossover and left talking about their joint love of basketball. Two of the girls immediately chose The Night Gardener and the remaining chose Fish in a Tree. My hope is that by next session the kids will be convincing each other to read their first choices and conversation will flow easily.

Here’s to happy summer reading for all!

 

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