Even shopping for socks and underwear becomes exciting for children when they get to lead the way. Over 700 children from communities in and around Essex County went shopping for new outfits and school supplies on Sunday, courtesy of the Essex County Section of the National Council of Jewish Women. This is the 6th Annual Back 2 School Store (B2SS) the NCJW has held for area children. The B2SS has grown from its first year when it served 250 economically disadvantaged children to now helping over 700 children focus on learning and not worrying as they begin the school year.
While some children began the shopping experience feeling unsure, their faces showed excitement and a sense of being “in charge” when their shopping trip was complete. The 4,000 square foot “department store” was located in space donated by Congregation B’nai Shalom in West Orange, NJ. Each child was assigned a personal shopper to guide them through the stations that included winter coats, hats, and gloves as well as new sneakers, pants, and basics like socks and underwear.
I like the commercialism of Mother’s Day about as much as I like seeing July 4th items on sale at my local Target last week. For me, the idea of buying some cheap token for Mother’s Day celebrates everything superficial about the holiday and very little about the real substance of the day, which to me, is taking a moment to think about mothers everywhere.
So against the sea of ads for jewelry and perfumes and, I wish this wasn’t true, weight-loss solutions, that are coming through my Facebook feed in “honor” of Mother’s Day, all I can think is how very little this matters to me, or I would guess any mom, when over 200 girls are missing in Nigeria.
More than two weeks ago, militants stormed a residential school in Nigeria and abducted school girls, still missing, and most recently, the leader of the group that kidnapped them at gunpoint are threatening to sell these girls. I cannot even contemplate the horror, and I am completely removed from this situation. And while I know I cannot even fathom how these families are feeling right now, at least as part of the global community, we can give our voices to the demand to #BringBackOurGirls.
When was the last time you were told to “Listen to your mother”? In May, Baristaville will have a chance to listen to many stories of motherhood from all points of view. After several days of auditions that narrowed down almost 100 stories about mothers and motherhood, the selected authors for the inaugural year of the North Jersey Listen to Your Mother cast are getting ready to share their words with all of us at the South Orange Performing Arts Center on May 10th at 5 PM.
Organizers Sandy Rustin and Deborah Goldstein narrowed down the scores of auditions to fifteen authors and performers, many from the Maplewood/South Orange area. Each performer will share their personal stories, some humorous, some heartbreaking, as Listen to Your Mother (LTYM) continues its tradition of giving motherhood a microphone — this time in New Jersey!
The South Orange-Maplewood school district (SOMA) racked up so many snow days over the course of the 2013-214 winter season that the Board of Ed has been forced not only to put summer recess on hold—they’re taking the whole season off the calendar.
BoE President Elizabeth Daughtry was still shaking her head in disbelief when talking to Barista Kids about this unusual move. “I mean, the first 10 snow days were a lot, but still reasonable,” she said. “After that, we even stopped having Board meetings. With all that snow and ice surrounding us and keeping everyone in their houses, there seemed no point in going on.”
Daughtry worries about students falling behind from so many missed days.
I might own a gun shop one day. So I’ve felt like an outsider when my friends and peers from our ultra-liberal town have advocated for strict gun control. Their pleas, bleeding with fret and emotion, populate my Facebook feed. They often post pictures of the innocent children who were murdered in Newtown. When the subject comes up–and it always does–at my neighborhood book club or at various get togethers, I try to keep my opinions to myself. If I get into how I really feel, I’m afraid I’ll be asked to leave.
When Newtown happened, I cried just as much as everyone else. I hold sadness in my heart for the victims. I keep picturing the brave principal who tried to stop the crazed shooter. I see her pretty face in my dreams and wonder why she and so many others had to die.
But the vast majority of people who own weapons legally are not crazed. I do not believe guns are bad. I grew up with guns, and when I was 7, my dad taught me to shoot with a Bearcat revolver one day after school. He currently owns a gun shop in my hometown of Jeffersonville, Indiana, a small river community on the Kentucky border. (See left.) He would be the first to say that he is not a young man. So I hope he doesn’t get mad when he finds out that I’ve already pondered what will happen if he dies. Along with my brother, I will inherit his busy, popular gun shop and gunsmith business.
You know about Caine’s Arcade? Caine is the 9-year-old boy in East Los Angeles who made an elaborate arcade out of cardboard boxes in the front of his dad’s used car parts store, see left. He was dying for customers, and he had only one. That one person made a video about Caine that went viral–making the boy very happy and also a little famous. We shared it here.
To inspire other kids, Caine helped create the first ever worldwide Cardboard Challenge on October 6. A little boy named Jake in Caldwell has made his own arcade, and so far, only his dad has RSVP’d to visit it.
Jake’s Arcadewill be open Saturday, October 6 at 11 a.m. We hear he built 10 games including Raceway Challenge, Claw Machine, Toss-Throw-Score and Mini Soccer. “There’ll be fun passes, prizes, balloons and good times. So come on out, play some games, have some fun and help raise money for a great cause,” his dad stated on his Cardboard Challenge post. Jake will donate his proceeds to the Imagination Foundation, the group that is sponsoring the event.
Click to the jump for Jake’s address. Also, there’s still time for you and your kids to make an arcade, keep reading.
Ever wonder what a paleontologist dig would be like? Or mining for real gemstones? Families can find out when Dinosaurs Rock visits Essex County Turtle Back Zoo this weekend. This exciting presentation features genuine and life-size fossils, pre-historic items and hands-on activities where visitors will learn about fossils and gemstones. This exhibition of giant ancient reptiles is part of Essex County’s year-long celebration to welcome the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest modern day lizard, to Turtle Back Zoo.
The Turtle Back Zoo Dining Pavilion will be transformed into a museum with a stunning and diverse arrangement of pre-historic fossils and hundreds of other items. Included in the display will be life size skulls from a T-rex and a triceratops, a nine-foot high Ice Age Mastodon leg, and fossils from a 22-foot pre-historic whale specimen and mastodon. In addition, kids will be able to dig for fossils in a simulated excavation site and go gemstone mining with a rushing water sluice in a simulated mining activity. There will also be a rock and mineral exhibit with crystal-filled geodes, giant amethyst and citrine towers.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. You know that old Staples commercial with the dad dancing through the aisle as he shops for school supplies with his kids who are miserable because summer is ending and school is starting? Well that’s how this dad feels about football season. More specifically, fantasy football season.
I’m willing to bet most men feel this way about fantasy football. At the risk of sounding cliche, a majority of women I know – my wife included – have no idea why this is so important to us. So let me explain…
First off, there’s the gambling. Men like to gamble. Not only does fantasy football provide an outlet, it is socially acceptable. (And perfectly legal.) So we’re not degenerate gamblers, spending all night in a casino feeding our debit cards into the ATM because we feel a hot streak is coming. Speaking of legality, according to a recent ruling by a federal court in New York, poker is a game of skill and thus not considered “gambling,” I am willing to apply the same reasoning to fantasy football. Sure, plenty of luck is involved. But there is also skill and strategy. Most important, money is on the line. And the only thing sweeter than hoisting that championship trophy in December is one of your buddies handing over a fad wad of cash to help ease the burden of the Christmas bills. Yes. There is a championship trophy. Any respectable league has one. Ours looks like this:
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Here are this weekend’s highlights:
The Aviation Hall of Fame in Teterboro offers kids (and their grown-ups) a chance to check out a very rare Lockheed Bushmaster, a Coast Guard helicopter, a Walter Aircraft rescue and fire fighting truck, and a Cobra gunship helicopter at Open Cockpit Day. (Saturday, September 8)