Meet Mom Hadley living in New Jersey the USA…
I’m Hadley Peterson one of the founders of tada! shop, I live outside New York City in New Jersey with my husband Clark and our three girls, Anna, Courtney and Ella. We moved here about 7 years ago right before the birth of our second. I love being close enough to New York to get in and enjoy all the incredible things about the city and at the same time having a yard, living space and close neighbors that the suburbs offer. I love art, interior design, cooking, exercise of all kinds, yoga, pilates, gardening and most of all spending time with my family and friends.
What kind of house do you live in – are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you find lacking or would like to change?
We live in house on street in the suburbs, Our neighbors are quite close. We love it.
Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?
I love it. I do find it all consuming, especially with so many blogs and now pinterest!
Do you keep your children’s play areas very separate or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?
I do like to keep my kids’ play areas separate. We didn’t have a playroom for a long time so their toys were in their rooms and our den. I have a thing for containers. If it’s in baskets, I just feel more contained, more organized. Now with a playroom, I like to keep the toys down there and a few in their room.
Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs?
Lonnymag, House Beautiful, Elle Décor, old dominos, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Tom Scheerer, David Netto, Absolutely Beautiful Things blog, Design Sponge, Mecox Garden. Pinterest.
Who do you consider is a good example for your children?
My parents and my husband’s parents. We have a very close extended family with a lot of cousins, I would say everyone in it.
What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
Coffee, exercise, a trip into NYC (not forced, it has to be easy), just walking around, an early dinner at a great spot. Some of our favorites with the kids have been at Serafina, Lucky Strike, Blue Ribbon Bakery.
Any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?
I am sure there are more out there, but I lived by Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child when my kids were babies. I don’t really read parenting books though.
Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ values?
I believe in letting them be themselves. I try not to over schedule after-school activities. If I feel like they are overwhelmed, I rein it in. Eating as a family is very important to us so we do it whenever we can. I also believe in trying new things, experiencing new cultures, new meals, new activities, I get antsy if we do the same thing over and over. I believe in being impulsive, if we are all in the mood for a CMA visit, we will jump in the car and go. I am a type A person, no question, so I try and break out of that for my kids every now and then to surprise them. I’ll never forget the time we were out on our dock in Rhode Island and I just got up on one of the pillons in my clothes and jumped in. The girls followed and were squealing with happiness.
What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
We have fun with Valentine’s Cards and Birthday Party invites. I have most fun with the projects we come up with all on our own kind of out of the blue. One year it was an Easter card for my mother-in-law and the girls and I spent hours putting it together. We were all so proud of the paper cutting. I would say my all time favorite DIY project are their birthday parties. My girls do a lot of their art projects on their own. A favorite is taking cardboard boxes and creating houses.
Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?
Have you seen my kitchen table? Glitter glue and paint will never come off. I think its doing it in a place where you don’t care about the mess.
Are you a crafter or DIY person?
I’m not sure. I would say DIY.
Books, websites, local shops you can recommend to get tips and ideas for kids crafting?
What do you do with all the projects your children make at home or in school?
I have a large plastic storage bin in the attic for each of them. I save the pieces that they are particularly proud of or that I like…I save a lot of the in-class standard pieces, but some I admit I throw out. If its just cookie cutter, I will not save, unless they show a particular interest in it. They love going through the bins, it’s a great rainy day activity. For pieces that are exceptional, either I love or they do, I’ll frame. I have a ton of IKEA Ribba frames I keep on hand. We have a wall in the basement playroom for their artwork and in their rooms. I also tape seasonal things that they bring home up in our kitchen.
How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house?
We always do a family birthday with our immediate family and usually my husband’s parents who live near by. We have a dinner and open presents. The birthday girl gets to pick whatever she wants to have. We decorate the table. We also have a birthday party for their friends. We like to keep it small, their closest friends. We do it usually in our backyard. Last year for my 8 year old we did a pretend camp out and for my middle daughter who was born on Cinco de Mayo, we have so much fun with that celebration!
Do your children have friends over very often?
If yes, what activities would they do?I actually don’t do a lot of playdates. I have had too many backfire. I much prefer the impromptu ones with friends’ kids who my kids don’t always get to see. Also, my two older daughters are in school from 8-3 and with other acitivites, they don’t have much time to play themselves just together so I like to give them that time.
What are some favorite games in your home?
Hoolahooping, Monopoly Kids, I Spy, Hide and Seek
What kind of sports do your children like to do and are you very involved?
Soccer, lacrosse, gymnastics. I helped coach our local lacrosse clinic this past season, but I would say other than that I am mostly just on the sidelines. I do think sports at my kids age should be all about fun and I don’t like to put too much pressure on them.
Are there musical instruments in your house?
Not right now. They are asking to play piano so they will start lessons this Fall.
What are all time favorite books for the children?
Iggy Peck Architect, A Girl and Her Gator, Emily Brown, The Curious Garden, Adam Rex's Psst,Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories and I loved Dr. Doolittle and Julie of the Wolves growing up, I am excited to read them to my girls.
How do you get your books? Bookstores? Online?
I have two favorite bookstores in the U.S.A, one I get to at least once a year The Northshire in Manchester, VT and the other is in Powells in Portland, OR which I got to visit once but not sure I will get back there. At both, I love to get recommendations from the people who work there and then I buy a bunch. Our schools have book fairs, and I buy a lot there as well. And, tada! shop and amazon for the rest.
Do your children read books online? Do they go to the library?
No they do not read books online. We go to the library once a week.
What are nice activities you can do with children in your place and what could you recommend when people are visiting?
I can’t say that Summit, NJ is a super exciting destination for visiting so I will give you our favorites in New York City. We love the Children’s Museum of the Arts down on Lafayette and can’t wait for their new space to open. Moomah is another favorite. The Highline is incredible and now with the new section open, it was so much fun walking it with the girls because my husband and I got to experience it both through their eyes and our own. The water pools, the amphatheater, the plantings and the views it’s breathtaking. I want to take them to Hudson River Park in the next couple weeks. In the winter, we have so much fun going ot the museums, the Met and the Natural History Museum. And the train show at Christmas time at the NYC Botanical Garden is a hit with them.
What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them too?
They just watched Annie which was a great one when I was little. I need to find the Black Stallion, I remember that being a favorite. I am curious about the new Smurf movie as I was obsessed with those when I was a girl.
How do they prefer to spend their leisure time?
They love imaginative play. They create little rooms with pieces from all different sets of their toys. Even though they have a dollhouse, they much prefer to create “set-ups” in unexpected places, on the second shelf of their bedside table, in their play refrigerator, in little nooks around the house. They seem to have a knack for using toys in so many different ways, and most often it is not it’s intended function. I created what I thought would be a great reading nook in basement, but instead they love to pile up pillows and make a fort.
Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?
Both Do and Yes Dad cooks too. He is much more by-the-book cook I would say. He is great at breakfast, poached eggs is his specialty and his Swedish pancakes are amazing.
What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and without the children?
When we were without kids, Clark and I loved to travel abroad. I was born in Panama (my parents are American) and I spent time two summers and a semester in Spain so I feel drawn particularly to Spanish-speaking countries. I have so many places I want to go with them but I do believe in waiting until my kids can appreciate their travels too. Right now, we ski a lot in the winter. We go to Vermont for that. For Spring break we go to the Keys which is just fun to explore. And in the summer, we are lucky to have a little beach time in Rhode Island and then the beautiful mountains and woods of the Adirondacks. We hike together and have so much fun experiencing the outdoors, playing tennis, swimming in lakes and oceans, clamming, camping…we do a lot.
Do you keep some sort of travel journal with the children?
I do. They each have a summer journal and they have been so diligent about writing in them every day. When we go on vacation, we usually bring a little journal for each. I stocked up on these little ones from Target that I give them.
What kind of souvenirs can they bring back home?
We usually let them pick one thing while we are away. When we were in Florida, it ended up being stuffed animals at Theater of the Sea where we saw a show. I cringed as we have SO many stuffed animals but we got them and they play with them a lot.
How do you prepare for a trip, any useful tips?
I am not a model packer. I do it the night before. There is a system, I lay out clothes, as few as I can get away with and then put them in a bag and hope I remembered everything. But I am not sure I have any tips. I do each girl bring a bag and they carry that with them on the plane.
What place do your children love to go to?
NYC. Anywhere really with their cousins which is Rhode Island and Adirondacks. We went to Anguilla a few years ago with my sister’s family and it has stuck with them. We are still trying to knock it off their favorite desintation….its become a running family joke.
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