Vacation on a Shoestring: Part 2

Tips for traveling with kids  on a budget @ jaxinthebox.comIf you live in a cold winter climate like I do, you are so ready for summer.  This winter has been the worst. As the thermometer climbs and the snow melts, I am actually thankful to see the scattered trash appear under the heaps of ice — a sight that usually makes me recite the lines of my boys’ favorite preschool book: Trashy Town(more…)

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Why I gave up money for Lent (and what I’m learning in the process)

Why I gave up money for Lent @ jaxinthebox.comI don’t generally do anything special for Lent. Growing up in Wisconsin, I always thought of Lent as something Catholics “did.” I enjoy the Friday fish fry tradition (that takes place all year round in Wisconsin, by the way), but always thought of giving something up as just another one of those Catholic rituals.

But every so often, I challenge myself with “giving something up.” And this year is one of those years. In the past (more…)

See what fun, DYI activities I demonstrated on TV that you can do at home!

A few weeks back, I published a series of posts on preparing your child for kindergarten. In WI, like in many other states, the educational standards are being raised. This means our kids are expected to know more than just how to tie a shoe and stand in line when they enter the doors of their 5-year-old kindergarten class.

One of my favorite things (more…)

Babysitter to the Rescue

Babysitter 411 @ jaxinthebox.comSometimes I just need to get outta Dodge. It could be the lack of wine talking (being pregnant and all) but some days these walls just seem to be closing in on me. For which the best remedy is to hire a sitter and drive around town in my minivan sans kids. Okay, I try to do something a bit more spicy, but some days I’d settle for crusin’ solo in my Odyssey. (more…)

Parents: Take Back Your Power

Parents Take Your Power Back3Driving around, I see lawns plastered with campaign signs. It’s that time of year again: Local elections are just around the corner. While I cherish our ability to vote and choose our leadership, I dread the mudslinging and adult bullying that accompanies it. And some of the most contentious elections in my Wisconsin city involve our local school board.

If you live in my state, you are likely aware that our public school system has taken the political center stage — maybe that’s the case in your state too. Buzz words like Common Core, teacher accountability, standardized testing and performance criteria stir emotions, soothe souls and make blood boil.

And they distract us.  (more…)