New Jersey

Special Needs Support Groups in Hudson and Bergen Counties

As a single mother of twin boys who are both diagnosed with PDD-NOS (AUTISM SPECTRUM) and ADHD, I have had my share of “almost to the point of having a mental breakdown” moments over the past five and a half years.  Some people say when they found out their children had an Autism Spectrum Disorder that they went through the five states of grief.  Not me.

I was never in denial, never angry that the life I had planned for them was never going to happen, never tried to bargain with a “higher power” to make my children “typical”.  I never became grief-stricken over the loss of the quiet, polite, exceptionally smart children I thought I was going to have.  I jumped right into the “acceptance” stage and went into SuperMommy mode.  Juggling almost 36 hours of early intervention each week, washing clothes, cooking, cleaning, and caring for my boys – alone – was completely overwhelming.  But I did it….. with some regrets.  My biggest one was not seeking out support from other individuals who were going through the same thing I was. For those of you facing the most challenging, yet most amazing experience of your life – raising a child with Autism – get support. Seek out those who can understand your grief and frustrations and share with you their joys and accomplishments.  You won’t regret it!

Your NJ Weekend May 28-29: FREE Fests Galore, Plus Raptors, Snakes, Flowers and More!

Back in the LBC days (“Life Before Children,”) a long, summer weekend meant a much-needed break--sleeping-in, relaxation, ahhhhh.... Now, these 3-day “free” days often mean a scramble to find family-friendly activities to entertain a crew without breaking the bank.  That’s why you have us.  This weekend we’ve got your family festivals, your garden parties, your raptor tours, your parades, your snake-handling sessions...but wait, there’s more! Check out our list of Memorial Day celebrations and crafts, too.  And no need to thank us.  We’re right there with you. Believe us.

Hey, NJ! Make Your Way into Reality TV, Radio and Print

There you are, making dinner in your kitchen surrounded by peeling cabinets, ugly wallpaper and a cracked counter top, watching yet another family getting a dream kitchen makeover on TV and wondering, “Why not me? How on earth do they get this?” Believe it or not, it’s easier than you think to not only be featured in a home remodel, but to receive a personal makeover, free professional advice, game show prizes and more.  Speaking as a veteran of HGTV’s “Dear Genevieve,” (photo at left is my remodeled kitchen!) the “TYRA” show, “LXTV”, REDBOOK, ALL YOU, and the CBS “Early Morning Show”; and having been chosen for, but turned down, many more opportunities including “Wife Swap”, “Rocco to the Rescue” and “Honey Please,” I know that you’re what they’re seeking.  You just need to know where to reach them and how to position yourself.  Read on, and ready yourself to shine in the spotlight!

We love NJ swampland! "The Meadowlands" by T. Yezerski

Look on my kids' bookshelves and you will find tons of books about New York City. And not surprisingly, we do not have one book about New Jersey. I mean, what comes to mind when you think about New York? The Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and there are even some who think of the Statue of Liberty (boo! it's on the Jersey side!). What comes to mind when you think about New Jersey? The weeds growing on the side of the turnpike? Well, Thomas Yezerski wrote a book for children called "Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story" and it celebrates just that... the neglected wetlands of New Jersey. Have you ever walked or boated through the Meadowlands? If you have, you will know why we were so excited about this book!

Your NJ Weekend May 14-15: Fish, “Fly” Through Space, Boogie, Board Battleships, Do Disney or Drink Tea: Lots of Fun FREE

Spring break, parent-teacher conferences, Easter, Passover–doesn’t feel like we’ve had a full week of school forever.... ’til now.  Break out of the back-to-school doldrums with a day of letting loose: shear sheep, jump a space shuttle, dance around a Maypole, go fishin’, boogie in the streets or board a battleship!  Leaving the Cartoon Network-watching couch on the weekend a big enough family task? Try a tamer activity–maybe a local production of Disney’s “The Jungle Book,” or a visit to one of Morris Area’s nine museums offering FREE admission. And remember your mantra: “2 weeks until Memorial Day break, 2 weeks until Memorial Day break.”

Run for your life! 5K Races/Kids Fun Runs in NJ

Sometimes the full-throttle, leap-into-our-waiting-arms hug from a kid or two is the very reason we drag our tired selves out into the world each and every day, and sometimes... we just want to run the opposite direction. For this, there are 5K runs. Lots of 'em. And lest you feel guilty about this urge to jog, run, sprint, or 80s-style speedwalk away from the big love, you can bring the whole family to cheer you on and enjoy a fun run of their own. My youngest smoked the competition in her first race and she was wearing a tutu. I'm just saying — it's fun for the whole family. So, lace — or velcro — up, and we'll see you at the finish line.

NJ Strawberry Fields Forever: Pick-Your-Own Strawberry Picking Farms and Festivals

When it comes to strawberry season, bypass the frozen foods aisle and head to New Jersey, where pick-your-own farms reign, as do the West Cape May Strawberry King and Queen (really)!  Whether you’re looking for an afternoon photo-op in the field and a few pints of berries to bring home; or a full-on Strawberry Festival complete with strawberry shortcake, kettle corn, bands, craft fairs and a royal crowning, the Garden State has got it covered--no defrosting required!

Your NJ Weekend May 7-8: Mostly FREE Fun From Horses to Sheep, Ballet to Musicals, and May Day to Marvel Comics!

It may be Mother’s Day weekend, but after your “breakfast in bed” (READ: frozen waffles, a Go-gurt and orange juice, served with love,) the focus is back on the family.  What to do this weekend? We suggest heading out to take in an amazing performance–there’s both a fantastic, fun musical, and a beautiful family ballet to choose from.  If you’re into the outdoors, head to a NJ State History Fair in the park, a sheep-shearing festival at a creamery, a horse-drawn wagon ride on a farm, or a May Day Festival in the woodlands. Comic books your kid’s thing? Nip over to your neighborhood comic store for National FREE Comic Book Day! Then, pack up the family and head home to your kitchen to clean up the “loving” mess.

Loving Mom: Mother's Day Events in NJ

Oh, Mothers. We get the love. We get the hate. We get the primordial hugs from the short people who drop their backpacks and hearts at our feet, with all the hope that we will pick them up and put them back where they belong. We get a warm Sunday in May where one little fist clutches some petrified flowers and the other a hand-printed poem, and a quiet, 'here you go, Mama, I made this for you.' We also maybe want a lovely brunch, a cocktail and an afternoon without any dishes or laundry. Fortunately, New Jersey offers many opportunities for family fun on Mother's Day, from wine tastings to oceanside music. So take the perks, because Monday is right around the corner.

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