Category Archives: Smile

Charlotte’s journey as a trans kid’s parent is “And Just Like That” bright spot

Warning: Minor spoilers for And Just Like That ahead.

When Sex And The City, first aired I was in my late teens and early 20s. At the time, I was enamored with Carrie’s effortless style and creative spirit, Miranda’s passion for her career, and even Samantha’s sexual freedom and lust for life. While, I had no major issues with Charlotte, I often found her to be the buzzkill of the group, annoyingly obsessed with marriage and family, and far from the modern representation of feminism I admired in the other women.

As a college student, marriage and kids were the last thing on my mind, and I wasn’t even sure if my life would head in that direction. Though others may have casted them off as “old maids,” I thought these four women living incredible lives in New York City were the coolest. So when Charlotte got into her usual mope about never finding a man, I wanted to reach through the screen, grab her, and say, “don’t you realize how good you’ve got it!”

Now as a 30-something woman watching the SATC reboot, And Just Like That, I realize I relate more with Charlotte than anyone else, and she may be my favorite character in the series. 

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Screen-free ways to spend a family road trip

As a parent, I tend to be more on the laxer side of the screen time debate. I know letting my kids have an extra 30 minutes on their devices can be just what I need to keep my sanity in check. However, when we travel, I prefer to limit screens as much as possible.

I find that while offering screen time can keep my kids calm and make for an easier trip in the short term, often the stress over devices losing charge, not working, or even inducing nausea make them not worth bringing in the long run.

My family has taken several road trips in our Subaru, the longest being our drive from New York to Ohio when my kids were 6 and 3. While we did endure the occasional whine, my kids were able to manage without a device in their face for a few hours.

We are heading out on the road again, this time to Washington D.C., and I plan to use some of my tested strategies as well as some new ones, to help make the trip a calm and enjoyable experience.

Read on to see my plans for a screen-free road trip.

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Recipes, books, games and more — PJ Library’s got everything you need to celebrate Hanukkah

Hanukkah is almost here, and I can already smell the latkes and see my kids smiling from all the holiday fun.

If your family is like mine, your kids are already looking forward to Hanukkah, and you are ready to make some special memories.

To help families embrace and share the joy of The Festival of Lights, PJ Library has updated its “Hanukkah Hub” for 2021 to bring Jewish and Interfaith families games, projects, recipes and more ways to make this year’s holiday one the family will cherish for years to come.

Photo Courtesy Of PJ Library

Whether you are looking for ways to mix up your latke recipe, or instructions on how to light the holiday candles, PJ Library is your go-to source for all things Hanukkah.

You already trust PJ Library to curate and deliver quality Jewish books to your family, so you can be sure that they have an excellent selection of activities to make Hannukkah a blast for all eight nights.

PJ Library’s Hanukkah Hub is free to use, and anyone is welcomed to visit PJ Library to browse all of their wonderful Hanukkah books, activities, and recipes.

For more information on PJ Library, and how you can enroll your children in their free book subscription service for Jewish families, visit PJLibrary.org.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All views expressed are my own.

White and dark chocolate chip cookies with WAFFLE CONE pieces

My son turned nine years old this week, and we will be celebrating with a small group of his friends this weekend.

I purchased a bunch of snacks (more than enough, according to my son), yet I couldn’t resist adding another fun treat to the mix.

My family loves chocolate chip cookies, and I often make the classic favorite we all know well. This time, however, I wanted to have some fun, so I swapped out half of the chocolate chips for the white chocolate version and added some waffle cone pieces for a crunchy, sweet surprise.

Note, I used the Keebler-brand waffle cones, as that’s what I had on hand. I would be curious how this would work with other brands, or even other types of cones.

Let me know if you try this recipe and share what you think in the comments.

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FREE Hannukah coloring pages: Dreidels, Dinos and Donuts!

Channukah, Hannukah, Hanukah, however you spell it, the Festival Of Lights is coming soon!

Though I am far from a professional artist, I was inspired to create these whimsical, Hannukah coloring pages to help kids of all ages get into the Hannukah spirit.

I hope you enjoy these, and please give me feedback on ways to improve my designs, or other ones you may like to see in the future.

Happy Hannukah and happy coloring!

5 Ways to enjoy fall in the Western Hudson Valley

I have called the Hudson Valley my home for several years now, and I am finally getting around to sharing some of the incredible food, places, and culture this region has to over.

The Hudson Valley is an area of New York State that stretches along the Hudson River. On the east side, you have Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess County, while on the west side of the river, you will find Orange, Rockland and Ulster County.

My family resides in Western Hudson Valley, so my focus will be on this part of the region, but you can certainly find incredible places to explore on the eastern side of the Hudson River.

While any time of year is a wonderful time to visit, the Hudson Valley is especially popular in the fall, and with good reason. The leaves turn gorgeous shades of red, orange, yellow and purple; farm stands are filled with tasty fall produce; and, apple and pumpkin picking is plentiful.



Please note fall weekends (especially Columbus Day weekend, and during Warwick’s Applefest) can be extremely crowded. If you prefer less people around during your visit, try coming in the middle of the week, or later in the season. Late November, before the Winter holiday activities start, is a good bet.

Read on to learn about some of my favorite spots to experience the best of the Hudson Valley.

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5 simple ways to enjoy a fun, safe family vacation

By Joyce Wilson

Family vacations during school breaks are always something to look forward to and can still be enjoyed even in the era of COVID-19. Thankfully, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise domestic travel is safe for fully vaccinated individuals who wear a mask in public. If your children are too young for the vaccine, the CDC recommends you limit your travel to a short road trip to a location with outdoor activities that allow for social distancing.

Read on for ways to enjoy vacationing with your family in these unique times.

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10 times my kid’s outfits were better than anything at the Met Gala

The annual Met Gala is the place for high society to see and be seen in the most glamorous, avant garde and jaw-dropping fashion. From models to movie stars to even politicians, anyone who is anyone was on the red carpet at the event of the fall.

Scrolling through this years looks, I am reminded of all the creative clothing choices my youngest child has made over the years. From the moment he first became aware of clothes, he’s loved to dress up and express himself in unique ways. While I may have a mother’s bias, I think his looks could definitely upstage or at least turn a head or two if they were to strut their stuff at the Gala.

Here are a few of my favorite looks from recent years:

Overalls And Boots

Nothing says style like a snazzy pair of red cowboy boots.

Red Warrior

What can I say? The kid likes red.

Stealing The Scene In Green

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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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