Back to School Shopping in Style Courtesy of NCJW-Essex

BY  |  Tuesday, Aug 05, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

back2schoolEven 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.

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For Mother’s Day, Help #BringBackOurGirls

BY  |  Tuesday, May 06, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Bring Back Our Girls

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.

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Celebrate Parenthood at North Jersey’s own Listen to Your Mother

BY  |  Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Listen to Your Mother 2014When 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!

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I Agree with Joe Biden—And I Might Own a Gun Shop One Day

BY  |  Friday, Feb 22, 2013 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (9)

 I Might Own a Gun Shop One DayI 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.

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Caine’s Arcade Inspires Local Boy to Build One: He Hopes Someone Will Come

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 20, 2012 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

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 Arcade will 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.

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A Letter to the School Bus Driver On the First Day of Kindergarten

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 06, 2012 6:45am  |  COMMENTS (5)

Dear School Bus Driver,

This is my first time at this, and I’m surprised at how nervous I am. I don’t like to think of myself as an overly-anxious parent, you know? So, please don’t take this the wrong way. I don’t want to tell you how to do your job. I certainly don’t appreciate when people try to tell me how to do mine. But I just want you to know, up front, that when you pull away from the end of my block today you’ll be taking my heart with you.

I’ve pictured the yellow rear-end of the school bus pulling away from the curb so many times this summer.  And each time makes my eyes water and my mouth turn down. This kid, my son, is so excited to ride the bus to school. So excited. But he’s also nervous and worried about finding his class and about rough kids sitting next to him and about whether someone will make fun of the t-shirt he picked out for his first day of kindergarten. I don’t want him to get special attention, not more than anyone else’s child, but could you do me a favor and give him a grin and a “Good Morning!” when he gets on the bus? I’m sure you would do that anyway, but it’s my first time at this, and I don’t know.

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Bake Sale for Toni’s Kitchen and Chance to Win a New Stylish Lunch Tote

BY  |  Monday, Sep 03, 2012 4:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

If you need a sweet treat to ease the back-to-school transition this week head on over to the porch bake sale for Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair this Wednesday afternoon.

Toni’s Kitchen feeds and nurtures those in need. All money raised will go directly to Toni’s Kitchen as the Battle Against Hunger bike ride approaches, the weekend of September 7-9.

Come as a baker, shopper or both. The weather forecast is not good for tomorrow so why not do a baking project with the kids? My oven is not working so I will definitely be there trying to buy some muffins for an after-school treat, otherwise I would have made these berry muffins or some carrot cake squares.

Please drop off baked goods (shop-bought or home-made) at 14 Nassau Road, by 7 P.M. Tuesday, September 4.

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“Mom Appreciation Days” At Whole Foods West Orange

BY  |  Monday, Aug 27, 2012 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

I for one, will be happy when school starts. As much as I hate the morning rush, packing lunches, I love having everyone back on schedule. And I am going to celebrate after I drop the kids off by going to Whole Foods West Orange for some pampering.

From Wednesday, September 5 through Friday, September 7, Whole Foods will be holding “Mom Appreciation Days, ” between the hours of 9:30 – 11:30 am. Moms will be treated to a free chair massage, hot tea, a sunflower and a whole bunch of other goodies and samples.

Barista Kids Poll: When Should Kids Start Cooking?

BY  |  Monday, Aug 27, 2012 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (7)

My daughters, thankfully, are hot on cooking. So recently I handed them a paring knife and some oven mitts. They know how to cut strawberries and kiwis. They pull the strings out of snap peas and saute them in butter on our behemoth gas stove that scares the sugar out of me.

They’re 6 and a half. Geez. They should be making Summer Thai Noodle Salad by now. Anyway, I started out watching them very closely. But as they get more practice, I give them more independence (i.e. I can check my email while they work). We’re learning how to boil hot dogs next.

Now if they’d just do the dishes.

What age do you plan to let your kids start cooking? Take our poll…

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R.I.P. Jerry Nelson: The Voice of Sesame Street’s The Count

BY  |  Friday, Aug 24, 2012 2:05pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

We’re so sad to learn that puppeteer Jerry Nelson has died a the age of 78. He is most famous for being Count von Count, aka The Count, my second favorite Sesame Street character growing up. He also gave life to  Mr. Snuffleupagus, Herry Monster,  Gobo Fraggle on Fraggle Rock, and many other Muppet characters.

(Photo: Wikipedia)

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