A tribute to my siblings on “Aunt and Uncle’s Day”

My children are fortunate to have a strong bond with their extended family. Though we often go too long without seeing them in person, I am grateful, in particular, with the connection my kids have forged with my brother and sister.

Affectionately known by the Hebrew words for aunt and uncle, their “Doda” and “Dod” are an important part of my kids’ lives.

In honor of “National Aunt and Uncle’s Day,” today, I am sharing my love and appreciation for my siblings, and all the other siblings who are devoted aunts and uncles to their nieces, and niblings (non-binary alternative for niece or nephew; I was unclear on an accepted one for aunt or uncle, please suggest one in the comment).



When my first son was born, my sister stepped up and offered her babysitting services, allowing my husband and I to get much needed nights out. We still joke about how the only way to stop my son from crying was to change his diaperconstantly. Hey, whatever works!

Two years and another baby later, my sister continued to be an important part of my kids’ lives. As they both got older, this bond grew from helping with feeding, bathing and diapers, to doing projects with them and taking them to museums. And, when we couldn’t get together in person, “Doda” was always eager to video chat.

With the world opening up (hopefully), my sister will soon be jetting off to some fabulous location, and I am sure will pick up (as she often does), cool souvenirs for my boys. I am thankful that even in her travels, my sister has her nephews in her heart.

Though my brother’s bond with my kids started slowly, in recent years, this connection has grown stronger. They are thrilled whenever they get the chance to spend time with their “Dod,” which means lots of fun playing games, running around or just being silly.

My brother had a special connection with one of our own uncles (may his memory be a blessing), who served as a guide, mentor and confidante to him over the years. As my boys grow older, I am grateful they will have their “Dod” to turn to for guidance and support.

Speaking on behalf of all parents out there, I want to say,”thank you,” to all the siblings who cherish their role as aunt or uncle. You are the ones our kids can go to when they are uncomfortable talk



When my first son was born, my sister stepped up and offered her babysitting services, allowing my husband and I to get much needed nights out. We still joke about how the only way to stop my son from crying was to change his diaperconstantly. Hey, whatever works!

Two years and another baby later, my sister continued to be an important part of my kids’ lives. As they both got older, this bond grew from helping with feeding, bathing and diapers, to doing projects with them and taking them to museums. And, when we couldn’t get together in person, “Doda” was always eager to video chat.

With the world opening up (hopefully), my sister will soon be jetting off to some fabulous location, and I am sure will pick up (as she often does), cool souvenirs for my boys. I am thankful that even in her travels, my sister has her nephews in her heart.

Though my brother’s bond with my kids started slowly, in recent years, this connection has grown stronger. They are thrilled whenever they get the chance to spend time with their “Dod,” which means lots of fun playing games, running around or just being silly.

My brother had a special connection with one of our own uncles (may his memory be a blessing), who served as a guide, mentor and confidante to him over the years. As my boys grow older, I am grateful they will have their “Dod” to turn to for guidance and support.

Speaking on behalf of all parents out there, I want to say,”thank you,” to all the siblings who cherish their role as aunt or uncle. You are the ones our kids can go to when they are uncomfortable talking to us. You are the ones who bring the cool gifts and take the kids to fun places. You are the ones who let the kids stay up late watching movies and give them all the junk food. You are the ones who bring joy and love into all of our lives.

Thank you aunts and uncles for being your wonderful selves.

Happy Aunt and Uncle’s Day!

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Small-town, seaside charm abounds in Cape May, N.J.

A few days after our family trip to Cape May, N.J., I can still smell the salty, sea air and feel the cool, ocean breeze on my skin.

I am no stranger to the beach; I grew up in Queens, within an hour’s drive of Long Island’s popular shores, took yearly trips to Virginia Beach as a kid, traveled to the beaches of the Carribean and the Middle East, and, more recently, spent many summers at the more northern points of the Jersey Shore.

Cape May N.J. has a lot of what you might find in any beach town, small shops selling ice cream, souvenirs, or beach gear, restaurants on the water and a walkable pathway that runs along the edge of the beach. However, what makes Cape May stand out is the charm of the town.

Cape May N.J. is dotted with beautiful Victorian homes and quaint shops. In proximity to our hotel, was just one small grocery store, and I can’t recall seeing a single chain restaurant or major retail store. Of course, this could make living in Cape May year-round challenging, which I can’t speak to, but if you enjoy an escape from the hustle and bustle of busier areas, a visit to Cape May may be right for you.

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ComfiGO Booster from ClypX offers space-saving safety

Anyone who’s tried to squeeze more than one young child in the back seat of a car understands how cumbersome standard child safety seats can be. And while I do like my kids using high-back booster seats, I was pleased to discover another option which offers space-saving features as well as peace of mind.

The ComfiGO Booster seat from ClypX is a compact, easy-to-use, travel-friendly booster seat for children ages 4 to 12 with a minimum weight of 40 pounds and who are between 40 and 57 inches tall. The ComfiGO Booster seat works with your vehicle’s lap and shoulder belt restraining devices to create an instant child safety seat.

The ComfiGO Booster seat features an adjustable, clippable strap that secures the shoulder belt on your child, preventing them from slouching and keeping them properly restrained, as well as another clip which can be used on the lap belt for added security.

Families will love that the ComfiGO Booster is lightweight and small enough to stow in most suitcases and travel bags, yet can be secured permanently in the car via the LATCH system.

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Five phrases we need to stop saying to new mothers

Giving birth seems to invite all sorts of opinions and input from everyone from close family to complete strangers. Here are some of the more common phrases new moms hear, and why they are problematic.

Breast Is Best

I breastfed both my children for about two years each (both directly from my breast and via pumped milk in bottles). I loved the bond nursing built between myself and my kids, and I am proud of myself for being able to do it for as long as I did. However, just because breastfeeding was right for me, doesn’t make it right for all mothers.

All who want to breastfeed should be supported in every way possible. However, many new moms are unable or prefer not to breastfeed, and need support as well. Breast milk is truly amazing, no debate there. However, breast milk is not the only way to feed a baby. Breast milk may be remarkable, but what’s more remarkable is a mom who is supported in her choices.

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Super simple pizza lunch/snack hack

I have two school-age kids who bring their lunches from home. Though I am far from the healthiest parent, I do try to give my children a variety of foods, and, when possible, pack them items that are homemade.

Still, those prepackaged kid lunch options you find in the supermarket are very tempting, and definitely convenient.

My son and I were at the store together, viewing these very items in the refrigerated section, when I thought of the idea to try and make my own version of this popular item.

I grabbed some pizza dough I had already made, got a muffin tin, and got to work. The result was portable, stackable, packable mini pizza rounds.

If you are a parent looking for an easy school/camp/sports lunch or snack hack. Read on for the super simple recipe.

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What hiking taught me about the human spirit

I am blessed with the good fortune to live near some incredible hiking trails, including a large section of the Appalachian trail. I love the peace and quiet I find while hiking, especially in the fall and winter when the trails are less populated. I find being alone on the trail allows me to better experience the sounds of the wind whistling through the trees, birds chirping and insects buzzing. I can sync my soul with nature and put my mind at ease.

Now with the warming weather, more people are out hiking, so my opportunities for solitude are limited. However, I still enjoy getting outside, and try to hit the trails on weekday mornings when the crowds are manageable. Also, there is a difference between crowds on a trail, and crowds in general. Something aboout being out in nature reduces the stress and annoyance of being around large groups of people. I can’t help but feel good.

I find my fellow hikers, whether novices or experts on a months-long excursion, share this same spirit. While, we may have widely different views, and might even despise one another in a different space, on the trail none of that seems to matter. Here we all share one purpose, the desire to be one with nature.

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LEGOLAND New York brings thrills to the Hudson Valley

My family has called the New York Hudson Valley home for nearly six years, and the longer we are here, the more we fall in love with all the wonderful treasures this area has to offer. From breathtaking views atop scenic mountain trails to delicious farm-to-table food, this region is truly a special place.

This summer, the Hudson Valley will become even more of a hot spot with the opening of LEGOLAND New York.

Conveniently located in Goshen, N.Y. — just 60 miles from NYC — LEGOLAND New York will include seven themed lands, such signature rides as “The Dragon” and “LEGO® NINJAGO® The Ride,” as well as new experiences like the global debut of LEGO® Factory Adventure ride.

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Latin-Grammy winners, 123 Andrés turn hit song “Ten Little Birds/Diez Pajaritos” into dual-language board book for young learners

Learning a new language is fun for all ages, and even really young children can benefit from exposure to languages outside their native tongue.

123 Andrés, the award-winning musical duo, has put their incredible talent for introducing youngsters to Spanish into a brand new board book, Ten Little Birds/Diez Pajaritos.

Based on the fan favorite song of the same name, Ten Little Birds/Diez Pajaritos, follows the journey of ten colorful birds, that keep flying away. Children will love the bold images and whimsical images, and guessing where the birds might have gone.

Presented in both English and Spanish, parents and guardians will love how Ten Little Birds/Diez Pajaritos can be used as a tool to teach or enhance language development. The book is also a wonderful way to foster counting, subtraction and other early math skills.

Ten Little Birds/Diez Pajaritos is available now at a variety of retailers including Amazon, Target, Barnes and Noble and more.

Ten Little Birds/Diez Pajaritos was written by husband and wife, Andrés and Christina under their band name, 123 Andrés. Andrés and Christina have performed all over the world, bringing their love of music, language and Latinx culture to families. In 2016, 123 Andrés won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album for their album, “Arriba Abajo.”

Ten Little Birds/Diez Pajaritos is the first book from 123 Andrés and is published by Scholastic.



Purchase giving guide and support victims of gender violence

My sister Alison and I are proud of the “Generosity For Every Season” guide we made to help families foster a culture of giving. We believe the fun, easy projects, activities, beautiful printables and more can encourage all families to jump start or accelerate their philanthropic efforts.

We know generosity is an important value to pass on to our children, and if you haven’t purchased your copy of “Generosity For Every Season: A Family-Friendly Guide To Giving,” you will want to do so as soon as possible.

And, because our guide is all about promoting the values of generosity and philanthropy, we are pleased to announce a new charitable initiative.

Now through the end of May, we will be donating $5 (up to $200) from every guide purchased to Sanctuary For Families. As the first-ever nonprofit to be featured in the Blogging for Better program, it is fitting that Sanctuary For Families, be the first organization to benefit from the sales of our guide.

And to encourage the giving, we have dropped the price of “Generosity For Every Season” to just $10.

Here’s a little more about Sanctuary For Families from their website:

“Sanctuary for Families is New York’s leading service provider and
advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related
forms of gender violence.”

This incredible organization helps victims of abuse escape from a life of pain and suffering by providing shelter, legal counsel, career training and more.

To learn more about Sanctuary for Families services, click here.

(Note if you are a New Yorker in immediate danger and need to take discreet action, Sanctuary for Families offers a secure option for you. Just click on the “Escape” button found on the web site.)

“Generosity For Every Season” is available now in the Maybe I’ll Shower Today shop. Click here to purchase your copy and support victims of gender violence today.

Dealing with my “eco” mom guilt

Like many (maybe all?) moms, I often feel guilty about my parenting choices. Do I let my kids have too much screen time? Should I force them to eat more vegetables? Do I yell too much? I am ruining the environment just by raising a family?

That last question is one I have asked myself from the moment I had my first child. Living in an apartment at the time with a communal laundry room, cloth diapering was not practical option, so I used disposables. But, not just any disposables, mind you; I had to have the most natural, sustainably made diapers your could buy (read: the most expensive).

Using the fancy “eco” diapers made me feel a bit better. Still, I was worried about all the garbage I was adding to the world. I decided to try elimination communication, or the concept of letting babies/toddlers go diaper free as much as possible. I guess I did manage to reduce my diaper use, and my oldest did potty train on the earlier side, but I am not sure all the time spent cleaning up messes was worth it in the long run. When my second child came along, I was often too distracted by other matters to really focus on teaching him to use the toilet. He was in diapers much longer than my oldest.

Over the years my guilt over my family’s impact on the environment, has evolved to include, worrying about how much packaging we’re throwing away, wondering if we are being energy-efficient enough, and thinking about how to be less car dependent.

I also constantly consider choices that are best for my family and compare them with their impact on the environment. Like my choice to use disposable diapers, often my desire to help the Earth and my family don’t always align.

A more recent example, is driving. Where my family currently lives, we need a car to get to most places safely. You may ask why someone like me, who cares about the environment would live in such a place, but again, sometimes needs don’t always align. Right now, this is the best choice for my family.

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