Category Archives: Smile

Croquet is the friendly lawn game you must try

If you just finished watching the second season of Bridgerton, you likely noticed how prominent a role croquet played in highlighting the smoldering, competitive chemistry between the Viscount Anthony Bridgerton and Miss Kate Schwarma.

Or, you might be fonder of Heathers and how croquet was used to show the divide between the haves and the have-nots.

And who could forget the memorable scene in Disney’s version of Alice In Wonderland, where Alice was forced to play a highly unusual and markedly unfair game against the Queen of Hearts?

For years, croquet has captured us through pop culture, and may even seem a bit exclusive. However, this centuries old game really is for everyone.

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PJ Library makes celebrating Passover easy, meaningful and fun

In addition to running this blog and related social media channels, I run an Instagram account and Clubhouse club called, “Raising Jews.”

In our most recent discussion, we spoke about ways to make Passover fun for kids of all ages, and shared crafts, games and other ideas to make the holiday a joyous experience for everyone.

My main takeaway from the conversation was realizing our children reflect our attitudes and emotions. If we can find the joy in Passover, they can as well.

Of course, having some resources to help us make a memorable Passover helps, and once, again, PJ Library delivers with its extensive offering of books, music, games and more to create a meaningful holiday.

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Buddha Board brings mindfulness and creativity home

Throughout my life, I have used creativity to ease my mind, reduce stress, and turn off the world for a moment.

I enjoy oil painting, for example, and love how I can get lost in the mixing of paints and the strokes of my brush on canvas.

Oil painting, however, involves a lot of prep work, and sometimes, I don’t want to be bothered.

Sometimes, I just want a quick and simple way to express myself artistically.

Enter the Buddha Board, an art and meditation tool, I was introduced to a few weeks ago.

The Buddha Board enables the user paint freely using only water. No need to find paints or clean brushes between strokes. All you need is your brush and good ole H20.

After a short time, your creation evaporates away leaving a blank canvas waiting for your next moment of inspiration.

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VIDEO INTERVIEW: Camp expert on choosing the best overnight camp for your child

I sat down with Tom Rosenberg, President and CEO of American Camp Association, to talk about how families could choose the best overnight camps for their children.

In our interview (posted below), we discuss taking the time to research the options available and consider what camps would appeal most to your children. We also discuss concerns such as tuition costs, homesickness, and device dependence.

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New book captures the essence of motherhood through rhyme

I have thought about writing a parenting book for a long time, and toyed with various ideas for expressing my views.

The format I kept coming back to was poetry.

I have always enjoyed creating rhymes, and often find myself composing verse in my head. I felt compiling a bunch of short poems on the various aspects of motherhood would resonate best with my audience.

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Tech-free player helps kids relax and reset

My oldest is a highly sensitive child, who feels his emotions with deep intensity. When he is happy, he is exuberant, when he is sad, he is distraught, and, when, he is angry, he is furious.

My youngest is a go-go-go type of child. His mind is always wandering, he is easily distracted, and he often has trouble calming down and focusing on what he needs to do.

For both of my kids, I have found helping them be more mindful of their bodies, their breathing and their feelings, has made handling some of the more challenging moments of parenting much easier.

When either of my children are inconsolable, I often sit with them and breathe with them until they are calm enough to talk about what is wrong and work on a solution.

I am always looking for tools to assist me in encouraging my children to learn how to regulate emotion, and for helping them get into the right mindset for sleep.

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Creative ways to connect this Valentine’s Day

When my husband and I first got together, Valentine’s Day meant spending an evening out at a fancy restaurant. As we have gotten older, and have added kids to the mix, February 14th is more often celebrated at home with a meal we cooked ourselves and watching a favorite movie or T.V. show.

While going out for dinner is a wonderful way to spend Valentine’s Day, you may want to mix things up a bit this year.

Read on for some creative ways to connect this Valentine’s Day.

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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.