When the holidays or my sons’ birthdays roll around, my parents, looking for gift ideas, ask me, “What are they interested in right now?” The key words in that question are “right now.”
Twice per school year at Manzanita Elementary School the Family Faculty Organization, or FFO — which is similar to a PTA — puts on a book fair. The students go nuts over it. They love books, and they love to read. I’ve been a co-chair of the book fair for the last 2ƒ years, and it’s a fun an…
Because of the Sept. 1 kindergarten cutoff date where I grew up, and because my birthday is in early September, I was the first of my high school friends to turn 16, get my driver’s license and start driving. I was also the first of my college friends to legally get into bars. On both occasi…
For many years, I was a “city girl.” I lived in Chicago — not “Chicagoland” or any of the suburbs that are miles and miles from the city.
Shortly after our family moved to the Foothills, we heard friends and acquaintances talk about Coronado, Calif. People raved about it. They told us it's a wonderful vacation destination, with beautiful beaches, lots of green parks and activities for the whole family. One friend described it …
Sometimes I go to the grocery store and feel like there is nothing suitable to buy. There are so many books and schools of thought regarding what we should and shouldn't eat.
A series of humorous commercials for Dos Equis beer features a character touted as "The Most Interesting Man in the World." The Man is shown in exotic settings easily performing feats such as freeing a bear from a trap and surfing a killer wave.
In my last column, in late December, I wrote about our family's desire to find a consistent volunteer opportunity for the four of us. We have had difficulty finding that, and I asked readers to write in with suggestions. I would like to thank the readers who shared the following leads with me:
'Tis the season of giving, and volunteer opportunities abound. Preston's and Griffin's elementary school has a holiday project in which food, clothing and toys are collected for needy families at another elementary school in Tucson.
A week before the Catalina Foothills School District fall break, I emailed Preston's and Griffin's teachers to let them know that the boys would be missing the three half days preceding the two-day break, and I felt guilty.
As summer winds down, here are a few topics that have come to mind lately.
Tucson has a lot of transplants, and before moving to the Old Pueblo, those residents spent years in other cities. We're transplants, too, and for our family Chicago is our home away from home.
Our son, Preston, who is 8, can't get enough of books. He loves to read. He won't leave home without a book in his hands. Actually, he takes two books with him wherever he goes - the one he is currently reading and a second book as a backup in case he finishes the first book.
I feel like March is giving Christmastime a run for its money as the most wonderful time of the year.
Today I'd like to share some thoughts I've had on music, the
Tucson Lifestyle "Best of the City" article and the passing of
author Jeffrey Zaslow.
On New Year's Day my husband and I had a morning to ourselves.
Our sons would be coming back in the afternoon after a sleepover at
my parents' home, so what would we do with the next five hours?
One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is enjoying the
lights. I grew up in Kansas City, Mo., and a very important holiday
tradition there is the Plaza lights.
Over the last year or so, as we sit down to dinner, our family
has gotten into the habit of sharing something aloud that we are
thankful for. It has been great for us to stop and reflect on the
wonderful things in our life, some major, some trivial.
Saturday at 7 a.m. sharp, students from Manzanita Elementary
School started a 2-mile fun run/walk at Sabino Canyon called the
When my son Preston showed up to the fields at Mehl Park in
March 2010 for his first Canyon View Little League baseball
practice, one boy on his new team immediately stood out. It was
Years ago, when I was a new mom carrying my baby boy around
town, complete strangers would sometimes stop me to say hello and
then advise me, "Kids grow up so fast. Enjoy them while you can."
Then they would tell me about their teenagers or grown
On a Thursday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I boarded a plane
for Las Vegas. I traveled alone and stayed in Sin City for less
than 24 hours. I didn't gamble, see a show or take in the sights. I
was there to audition for the game show "Who Wants to be a
I consider myself a positive, look-on-the-bright-side type of
person. But for some reason when it comes to being a parent I'm
pretty hard on myself. I focus a lot on what I need to do better,
and on what other parents are doing that I'm not.
The last time I searched for a job, Bill Clinton was president,
eBay was in its infancy and people were dancing the "Macarena." I
was in my last semester at college and eagerly looking forward to
starting a career.
Shortly after Mother's Day, I saw our fish at the bottom of its
tank, on its side. My sons, Preston, 7, and Griffin, 5, have yet to
notice that the fish and its tank are no longer on our kitchen
Recently, our family went to see a Blue Man Group performance at
the University of Arizona's Centennial Hall.
When I was a child in the late 1970s and early '80s I helped my
mom clip coupons from the Sunday newspaper inserts every week. She
would give me a certain percentage of the coupon savings as pay for
the job, and I unwittingly improved my math skills.
Imagine two adults meeting for the first time. They say hello
and share their names. Then instead of discussing family or weather
or work, one asks the other, "How old are you?" Without hesitation,
the other answers, then asks in return, "How old are you?"
Do you remember your child's first emergency? That accident or
illness that sent you racing to the emergency room or had you
calling the pediatrician or dentist in a panic?
Thanks to all the readers of my Feb. 10 column, "It's my turn to
pick a book for club and … got any ideas?" who posted comments
online and sent e-mails with book recommendations.
I wonder when I'll have the time to read as much as I like. Time
to sit outside on gorgeous, sunny Southern Arizona days and read
for hours at a time. Will I have to wait until I retire? Maybe when
my husband and I are empty-nesters, about 13 years from now?
After the Jan. 8 tragedy here, my husband Michael and I, just
like parents all over the city, have explained the news to our
children and answered their questions.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I've spent some
time reflecting on what I'm thankful for. Life itself, good health
and loving family and friends top the list.
I will never forget our first Halloween in the Foothills. We
live in a lovely neighborhood with few young children, and most
homes have long driveways. Our neighborhood was scary on Halloween
night, but only because it was dark and deserted.
Do you of any good pickup places in the Foothills? A nice place
to meet someone, strike up a conversation, and possibly exchange
Last week, we found ourselves at Dirtbag's Bar on East Speedway,
right next to the University of Arizona campus. Mike and I had
taken our sons there to play the arcade game Golden Tee Golf.
On a recent Sunday morning, as my 4-year-old son, Griffin, and I
entered Portland International Airport, tears started rolling down
his cheeks, and he pleaded, "I want to live in Portland!"
Summer may not be the best season in Tucson, but my family and I
have thoroughly enjoyed it. Here's why:
Editor's note: Meet Kelley Helfand, who will be writing
columns for the Foothills section about once a month.