Where are you from originally? Born in San Jose, CA but lived from first grade through college in Stamford. Went to Bucknell University.
How long have you lived in New Canaan? How many kids and their age(s)? I moved to New Canaan from Bronxville 4 months after my first son was born to bring up my kids in a district with excellent schools. I lived in a condo, then a starter home and then a home on Lost District Drive and just moved from there after living in New Canaan for 27 years. My oldest son is now 27, middle son 25 and daughter 21.
What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family date? Now that the kids are older, their favorite restaurant is Sole. We all love the halibut!! Must try if you haven’t!! It’s also just a fun, upbeat atmosphere.
What is your favorite kid-friendly recipe? My iced sugar cookies (recipe from my best friend and don’t share but would be happy to make them for you) and s’mores cookies are my crowd pleasers. Giant cupcakes have also been a big hit this year.
See my FB page at creationsbyleela
What are your favorite events in New Canaan? Waveny’s 4th of July is always a crowd pleaser! Our Board of Recreation works very hard to put on great programs for kids and families, which I am lucky enough to be part of. When my oldest was at West School there were no afterschool programs. I helped to launch the before and after school programs and also taught a craft class for many years. Once it got too large to handle, Bill Kapp at the Board Of Rec jumped in and took it over to offer a wide variety of classes at all 3 schools. I will be teaching Crafty Cooks at West in the fall where we do crafts some days and bake/cook or decorate fun food items other days. It was a hit last semester at East. The newest Board of Recreation venture that I became involved in last year was Learn-to-Sew classes. I taught over 100 girls and adults (and counting) to sew through Rec and NC library classes. My sewing classes will be held in the fall at the NC Toy Store most likely. This summer I have also teamed up with Art & Soul to offer STITCH ‘N PAINT classes to offer something a little different for kids that might not be into sports as so many NC kids are. Since we don’t have home economics in middle school anymore, where else are you going to learn to sew unless your mom or grandmother sews? I also teach private and small group lessons upon request.
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time? You think that when they are babies it is the toughest…but not true…as they grow older the problems get bigger and harder to help them solve. I admit, I was a helicopter parent and was very involved in their lives….probably more than I should have been. (Was a soccer coach, brownie leader, class parent, team parent, Emmaus member and more) I just always wanted them to be happy so tried to circumvent issues for them, etc….DON’T DO THAT! Let them fail and they will then be able to handle the bigger issues in life more easily. I am SO lucky to have 3 loving and supportive kids!
How do you relax and unwind? IF and when you get time to yourself, what’s your favorite thing to do? I don’t actually like to relax and unwind….I love to be busy and NEVER turn on the TV. My kids actually joke because I actually have trouble trying to figure out how to turn it on if I ever do. I love to create which is my unwinding time I guess!! I make quilts and teddies for people from their baby clothes, t-shirts, jerseys, loved ones clothing, etc. I LOVE to do this because I always like to have a project going and it also makes people so happy! I started doing this when I had a bin FULL of my daughter’s theatre shirts from grade school through high school and wanted to do something fun with them for her for graduation…and it was so fun that I just kept doing it…
I also enjoy helping NC moms plan and execute birthday parties. I’m always up for a new challenge like the funniest one….”Have you ever done a dolphin riding motorcycle party?” Nope, but we made it happen! My most popular request is princess parties. I hire NC High School musical theatre actresses to play the princess(es) and she comes dressed and sings a song and helps with the festivities. It’s a great way to use local talent and NC has lots of it with all the fabulous dance, theatre and musical opportunities to choose from.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? What was the best advice your mom gave you? I appreciate that my mom always taught me to be on time. “If you are late that means you think your time is more important than the person who is waiting for you.” I AM NEVER LATE!!! My advice to young moms is to take the time to go out and leave your kids home with a babysitter every once in a while to foster a healthy relationship with your partner. Unfortunately I didn’t do that much whereby I am now separated. Your kids will be better for it and so will your relationship.
What was your career before having children? I was a graphic designer before I had kids but not for long since I had kids young and was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom.
* If you’d like to contact Lee Ann for party planning, a private sewing class, or a personalized project, you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or send her a message through her FB page creationsbyleela