From the category archives:

Teachable

Food in school, camp and all those places kids gather

Kids aren’t the problem. Parents are.

March 11, 2014

Nearly every week I read an essay or blog post in which the writer, a parent, declares her outrage over no birthday cupcakes in school or no chips at soccer games or (fill-in-the-food-affront-of-the-day). “Let kids be kids!” the argument goes. “It’s just one cupcake… one party… one day a week.” Someone slaps on a link-bait headline, […]

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So many reasons to love maple season

February 25, 2014

Fake maple syrup bums me out. And not only because it rarely contains real maple. (Most brands are a mix of high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives and artificial flavors.) It’s because maple syrup is perfect just as it is. Naturally sweet, it also retains trace vitamins and minerals, even antioxidants. It’s still sugar, so let’s not […]

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Birthday party sanity (and yes, that includes cake)

January 15, 2014

Tess turned 10 last month. That means I’ve been hosting and attending kids’ birthday parties for a decade. What a wild ride that’s been. Cakes so electrifyingly bright they could make your hair curl. Drinks worthy of a WTF. Goodie bags that instead should be called sugar bags or gimme bags or keep-Oriental-Trading-in-business bags. And of course pizza, pizza, pizza! But I’ve also seen parties […]

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Tell McDonald’s: Back off our kids

May 8, 2013

I’m always up for a day of action, especially when the target (McDonald’s) uses marketing purposely designed to get kids to nag parents to death. And that marketing is everywhere: on TV, in movies, on computer games and websites, on children’s products, even in school. “Pester power” or “the nag factor” is how marketers describe […]

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National Girl Scout Cookie Day: Money Counts

February 8, 2013

I’m sure the Girl Scouts of the USA didn’t intend to be so, um, honest, when it chose this image to represent the first “National Girl Scout Cookie Day” (today). But check out the sash around that Thin Mint. See the “Money Counts” badge? Yeah. It sure does. But it doesn’t count for the wee Daisy who earns […]

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Harry Potter and all-natural butterbeer cupcakes

February 7, 2013

Lately Tess is obsessed with Harry Potter. (If you have an HP fan yourself, you know what I’m talking about.) She started reading the series in September, and since then it’s been Hermione this (Halloween costume) and Hogwarts that (Hogwarts Express train for Christmas, pretty please), and lots of wizarding and spell-casting all around. (Though yikes no Avada […]

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You are in charge. Never forget that.

November 21, 2012

I’m guessing kids everywhere did assignments like this the week before Thanksgiving. And we think this one is a keeper. “Family” is a given (one hopes). “Universe,” “technology” and “math” stoked my science-geek husband and also really cracked us up. But do you see that other word in there? “Me.” Our kid is thankful for herself. At […]

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Handout: Why school and junk food don’t mix.
And what educators can do about it.

September 20, 2012

If there’s one question I hear over and over again, it’s this: “I try to feed my kids well, but I’m thwarted by all the junk they get at school! What can I do about that?” Here’s my answer. It’s a handout you can print and give to your child’s teacher or principal. In it, I list five reasons […]

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Kids and factory farming: Yes, tell them the truth

February 27, 2012

We have a living-history museum nearby. One of those places with relocated old buildings and re-enactors who take you right back to the 19th century. During one visit, I was in the kitchen of a home churning butter with my daughter and chatting with another visitor, telling her we’d seen a pig-slaughtering pen being built at the village’s teaching farm. The museum, […]

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Simplicity, stress and other relative things

January 9, 2012

It’s been nuts in my house since late summer. That’s when my husband and I decided to act on our long-nagging desire to shake things up by paring things down. Things, literally, as in possessions. (It’s been non-stop Craigslisting, Freecycling and donating around here.) But also things in the greater cosmic sense: stress, expenses, responsibilities. We’re […]

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