At sundown on September 25, Jews around the world will begin observing the holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
Translated as “head of the year,” Rosh Hashanah is one of four, yes, FOUR, Jewish “new years,” and is marked is a time for renewal of mind, body and spirit. The holiday leads off a period of deep prayer and reflection concluding with Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement.
I have long found the timing of Rosh Hashanah to be more auspicious than the secular new year that begins in January. The timing of the holiday alongside the start of fall and, for many, the transition from a more leisurely summer to the busier days of work and school make it an ideal time for checking in on where we are in our lives.
There are many aspects of Rosh Hashanah most Jews, myself included, would find appropriative if those with no affiliation with the religion were to adapt, however, anyone, regardless of religion or lack thereof, all of us can use this time to set our intentions for the coming year. Note, these aren’t resolutions, such as “lose 20 pounds” or “earn more money,” but rather a mindful path toward achieving our best selves.
I have two kids in school who bring their snacks and lunch to school with them every day. While I do my best to pack their food in sustainable containers, I sometimes find them lacking. Like many “green” products, they are too bulky, too hard to clean or flimsy. I end up giving up and reverting back to unsustainable sandwich bags and other wasteful products.
I wanted a product that got mimic the convenience and ease of the food storage I was accustomed to, while still giving me a eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic.
Enter Smelly Proof, a brand of storage bags that function better than typical plastic storage bags and are durable, reusable, and FDA approved. The bags are also free of BPA and other harmful materials often found in plastic storage items, and are 100% American made.
Since receiving my samples of Smelly Proof products, I have used them to store everything from produce to cheese, and have found they keep these items fresh for a reasonable amount of time. And unlike traditional plastic bags, the Smelly Proof bags are easily cleaned by hand are even dishwasher safe!
The summer is winding down, and many kids are already back in the classroom or will be in a matter of weeks. While every school year has its challenges, starting kindergarten, heading off to college, or moving to a new school bring unique worries for both students and parents.
I asked my followers on Facebook to share their insights and tips on making those transitions easier for families. I was amazed by their responses, and am pleased to share some of them here with you. If you have more suggestions on making school transitions easier, please share them in the comments.
Many parents agreed checking out the school before classes began was crucial for easing new-student anxiety. Many schools offer official orientation days where teachers and sometimes older students walk the incoming students around the building and answer questions. Other schools will offer individual tours of the school if arranged in advance.
Like many Americans, petroleum jelly, or as you may know it by its most popular brand name, Vaseline, was a staple in my childhood home. The gooey, greasy, slippery product was a sought-after tool for curing everything from an irritated nose during a cold to healing chapped lips.
As an adult, I continued to use petroleum jelly, finding it helped me with a number of beauty and personal care needs. However, I always felt a bit disturbed by how petroleum jelly gets made, and wondered if this was really the best option for mine and my family’s health.
I was intrigued when I was offered a chance to try out Waxelene, an all-natural, organic alternative to petroleum jelly.
Before I continue, I will note that I have never personally experienced any adverse affects from using petroleum jelly, nor I can I offer any substantiated claims to suggest anyone would be harmed by continuing to use it. This post is meant to give readers insight into an alternative product, which may align more with their needs and preferences. I encourage you to do your own research and make choices that are best for you.
I began limiting animal-based foods from my diet when I was in college, mainly because I never loved the texture of most meat, and I was drawn to the idea that cutting back on such food could be beneficial to the environment. I went back and forth on what exactly I included in my diet, eventually settling in my comfort zone, which is as a technical pescatarian (though my fish intake is limited), who is currently limiting dairy.
Social media makes me believe every other family has kids who happily eat platefuls of raw spinach, while I am happy with mine eating a few pieces of lettuce at dinner. What I am learning, however, is no family is perfect, and that we need to take a deep breath and realize we are all probably doing much better than we realize. I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with Brooke Brimm, a mom, advocate and champion of plant-based eating. Brooke, who has been vegan for many years, believes adding plant-based foods shouldn’t be a negative or stressful experience. In our chat on Instagram, Brooke shares how eating more vegan foods is not about shaming meat or meat eaters, nor is it about projecting our own needs onto our family. She urges her followers to make food a positive experience and to embrace the myriad of ways many of us (our kids especially) enjoy eating.
When my husband and I were considering areas for our growing family, we wanted to be sure we would settle in a place our kids could thrive and be fulfilled. Though this meant looking into a number of factors, such as schools and overall quality of life, I made a point to place one particular community element at the top of my list: the local library.
Whether the town or city we visited was large or small, I took stock of how regarded the library was in the community. I took special care to observe the children’s section, as I knew that would be where my family would spend most of our time, yet also made note of the overall condition and atmosphere of the building as a whole.
To me, a library that is active, clean, well-staffed and highly regarded reflects a community that is engaged, involved and invested in the happiness and well-being of its members. This does not mean the library needs to be huge or filled with all the latest technology. I am well aware of how underfunded libraries are, and how unfortunately many communities lack the resources to improve old buildings, pay staff and keep shelves stocked. If you are able, please consider donating to your local library and other programs that support libraries across the country.
When you are exploring potential neighborhoods, here are some things to look for in the local library.
My oldest son entered kindergarten in September 2017, at the age of four. With a mid November birthday, he was one of the youngest students in the class.
Many around me questioned our family’s choice to put him in kindergarten — after all, the overwhelming trend was/is to let kids with late birthdays wait another year. I certainly wondered, at times, if we made the right call. Yet, in my heart, I knew he belonged there.
Sure enough, my oldest continued to thrive. His academic and social skills kept improving, and, by second grade, I couldn’t imagine him being in a grade below, even if some of those kids were in fact older than him.
Surrogacy, or the process of carrying a child in the womb for someone else, is a fascinating and special service many parents rely on to build their families. And, while there is a lot of content from the perspective of parents who have used surrogate(s) to grow their family, we don’t often hear from the surrogates themselves.
I am fortunate to be friends with Dana Kamp, a fellow boy mom and writer, and one-time surrogate. Dana spoke with me over Instagram about her experience serving as a surrogate, and shared the often emotional story of searching for a match, going through a surrogate pregnancy, and where that relationship with that family is today.
Throughout our conversation, Dana shared valuable information for both potential surrogates and those looking to use surrogacy, and dispelled a few myths about what the experience entails.
Read on to see some of the highlights of our interview and watch the full video below.
Spring and summer travel is here, and parents are ready to get kids out of the house and on the road or in the air. But before kicking off their dream vacation, parents are left with the difficult task of packing for everyone in the family. And while it may be as simple as outfits and skincare for adults, packing for kids requires much more preparation, thought, and consideration.
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