Boston Moms Guide to Pumpkin Patches

child holding pumpkin and walking through Boston pumpkin patch

Looking for pumpkin patches near Boston? We have you covered! There is nothing quite like a trip to the pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkins. Whether you want to carve it, display it, or bake with it, there is something about a pumpkin that really embodies fall in New England! 

Boston Moms has rounded up a list of our favorite pumpkin patches in the Boston area. Do you have one to add to our list? Let us know!

Brooksby Farm

54 Felton Street, Peabody :: (978) 531-7456

Pumpkin and apple picking, outdoor donut hut for cider donuts, farm stand

Cider Hill Farm

45 Fern Avenue, Amesbury :: (978) 388-5525

Pumpkin and apple picking, cider donuts, PitchFORK food truck on the weekends, pumpkin wagon open for photos

Connors Farm

30 Valley Road, Danvers :: (978) 777-1245

Pick-your-own pumpkins and apples, corn maze, haunted corn maze

Crescent Farms

140 Willow Avenue, Bradford :: (978) 914-3158

Pumpkin picking, ice cream stand, corn maze, hay rides

Four Town Farm

90 George Street, Seekonk :: (508) 336-5587

Pick-your-own pumpkins and vegetables, pumpkin rides

Hanson’s Farm

20 Nixon Road, Framingham :: (508) 877-3058

Pick-your-own pumpkins, corn maze, farm stand

Nihtila Farm

12 Nihtila Lane, Holbrook :: (781) 767-0213

Pick-your-own pumpkins, hay rides, farm stand

Parlee Farms

95 Farwell Road, Tyngsboro :: (978) 649-3854

Pick-your-own pumpkins and apples, cut-your-own flowers, Mary’s Country Kitchen, Annie’s Animal Barn

Rogers Spring Hill Garden and Farm Center

1269 Boston Road Ward Hill, Haverhill :: (978) 372-4780 

Pick-your-own pumpkins and apples, hay rides

Sauchuk Farm

53 Palmer Road, Plympton :: (781) 585-1522

Pick-your-own pumpkins, corn maze, farm stand

Simcock Farm

293 Marvel Street, Swansea :: (508) 673-5721

Pick-your-own pumpkins, sunflower maze, corn maze, ice cream stand, “Spooky Sundae” stand

Tangerini’s Farm

139 Spring Street, Millis :: (508) 376-5024

Pick-your-own pumpkins, farm stand, ice cream, Farmer’s Porch

Looking for even more fall fun in Boston? Try apple picking or a corn maze!

Family Language Immersion (or Learning for the Whole Familia)

parents and two children gathered around a table with books and pencils (family language learning/immersion)

I was 44, and it was my first day of school. I had a sharp pencil. A banana for a snack. And I was there to learn.

But before I even set foot in a classroom, I had to take a test.

No, this wasn’t an anxiety dream. This was my first day at Intercultura School in the beach town of Samara, Costa Rica, where my kids and I enrolled for three weeks last summer. The placement exam was customary — a simple Q&A to see which level was right for us. (A simple Q&A in Spanish, of course.)

Intercultura School in Samara, Costa RicaAnyway, I floundered through it and was placed (ahem) appropriately. But with some hard work, so much Spanish I was dreaming in it, and a pile of homework — yes, I even had homework — I moved my way up through several levels. By the time I graduated, I was able to give a bastante bueno speech in Spanish.

(Let’s be real, I wasn’t valedictorian or anything. Everyone at Intercultura gives a speech on their graduation day. But I do think my teacher, Carmen, looked awfully proud.)

My kids learned a lot too. In the classroom, with the kids on the beach playing soccer, and buying “un coco, por favor” from a traveling vendor. Actually, it was a pretty transformative experience for all of us.

Buying a coconut water from a local vendor

And really, learning a new language, however you do it, is transformative. It opens up a whole new portal. Whether you’re 4 or 44 years old.

So even if you can’t get away for this kind of immersion, consider other ways to learn a language as a family:

Sign up for an online course

Duolingo is great for both kids and adults. Create a family challenge to see who’s progressing and meeting goals. Mango Languages and FluentU also offer instruction in dozens of different languages.

Take an in-person class together

Check out your local library. Many offer language classes or story hours. If you’re a beginner, sitting in with your child will be worthwhile for you, too. Community colleges and community centers or education programs also offer free or reasonably priced classes.

Practice at home

If you have younger kids, make an effort to play in the language you’re learning together. How many times have you played the part of the patient to your little doctor? Or diner to your little restaurant server? Try that make believe in another language.

Games and books in other languages will also reinforce your new skills. Reading familiar picture books in another language is an exciting way to make connections!

And if you have older kids, plan a fun dinner — think rigatoni and panna cotta if you’re learning Italian, fried rice and dumplings if you’re learning Chinese — where you all speak only the language you’re learning. Yes, there will undoubtedly be some pantomiming, but it’s sure to be fun.

Watch TV

My sister’s family is currently watching a nightly episode of “The Big Bang Theory” in Spanish to keep their language skills from rusting. I wondered what else Netflix offers — apparently, you can binge your favorite series in all kinds of different languages, from Italian to Hindi!

Join a conversation group

Once you’re past the basics, your family might be ready for a group chat. Try Meetup to see if there are individuals or families who speak the language you’re learning and are looking to improve their English. You could also create your own meetup or even put an ad in your school newsletter.


And if you are able to get away? Consider a language immersion program like Intercultura, TLCdenia in Spain, or Coeur de France in Sancerre, France. Or take a family trip to a spot in the world that speaks the language you’re learning. Go ahead and practice with the locals. Don’t be shy.

After all, you’re a student — armed with a sharpened pencil and a snack — and you’re here to learn.

20 Things To Do in and Around Boston This Fall

pumpkin patch

Who doesn’t love fall in Boston?! With the cooler temperatures, cozy sweaters, beautiful leaves, and a variety of autumn adventures in store, Boston is at its best each autumn! Whatever you’re in the mood for, we’ve got you covered with a list of 20 things to do in and around Boston this fall!

1. Go leaf peeping

You could adventure all over New England to view the fall foliage, but some of the best spots are right here in our own Boston backyard. I love visiting Boston Common, the Public Garden, and the Arnold Arboretum every autumn for my leaf-peeping fix.

2. Take a hayride

Many farms near Boston run hayrides each fall — some spooky and some tame. Smolak Farms’ hayride is a great one, and it runs every weekend in September and October.

3. Spend a day at a classic fall fair

The Topsfield Fair is your classic fall fair — with all the fair food, petting farms, rides, entertainment, pig races, and contests you can handle! Kicking off September 29 and wrapping up October 9, this fair is a popular one, so grab your tickets ahead of time and avoid the long lines.

4. Go apple picking

Is it really fall without apple picking? Orchards all over New England open up their farms every fall for all sorts of fall activities in addition to apple picking, like petting zoos, pedal carts, pumpkin bowling, bounce houses, and more!

5. Bike along the Charles River

Fall is the perfect time to bike the Esplanade! Check out this handy clickable map, then make stops at the many playgrounds, art installations, gardens, and historical sites as you bike around.

6. Get lost in a corn maze

Test your navigation skills at one of the many corn mazes near Boston! There’s a “mega maze” at Davis Farmland and excellent mazes at Connors Farm and Honey Pot Hill Orchards.

7. Get spooked in Salem

There’s nothing like Salem in October. There are historic sites, museums, quirky shops, and “Hocus Pocus” landmarks. Then there’s the legendary Salem Haunted Happenings, a festival throughout October with events for the whole family, including a parade. Be prepared for massive crowds and tricky parking, though!

8. Visit a pumpkin patch

Many of the farms that offer apple picking also have pumpkin patches. Tyngsboro’s Parlee Farms grows more than 13 acres of pumpkins!

9. Watch the Head of the Charles Regatta

From October 20-22, stand at the edge of the Charles River and watch the world’s largest three-day rowing competition — there will be 11,000 participants this year!

10. Check out New England’s biggest fall fair

It’s New England’s biggest fall fair, and The Big E has tons of entertainment, food, animals, and rides from September 12 to October 1.

11. Say “boo” at the zoo

The Stone Zoo hosts this event every fall with a trick-or-treat trail, costume contest, and animal encounters. This year’s event is on October 22 and 23.

12. Get thyself to King Richard’s Faire

New England’s Renaissance festival — King Richard’s Fair — is entertaining for the whole family. There’s entertainment, rides, games, and signature food and drinks from September 2 through October 22.

13. Explore the Boston Common

This city gem is so easy to take for granted. But it’s a true treasure for area families — all 50 acres of it! Pause for a picnic in America’s oldest public park, and take in the colors of the changing leaves. Enjoy the many sculptures and memorials, and let the littles run free in the fields or at the playground!

14. Take a hike

What’s prettier than a hike with views of fall foliage? Best part is, you don’t have to go too far from home! These 10 family-friendly trails are all within two hours of Boston.

15. Stroll the Greenway

The Rose Kennedy Greenway covers 1.5 miles of park area that curves through Boston. The park is beautifully landscaped, with food trucks, a beer garden, and art exhibits along the way.

16. Go sky-high for the best views of Boston

View Boston is a new 360-degree observation deck on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Tower. It offers breathtaking panoramic views no matter where you stand — what a way to view Boston’s changing fall leaves! Plus, there’s a restaurant and bar up there, too.

17. Pick up fresh apple cider donuts

You’ll find apple cider donuts at many New England apple orchards, but you can get this local delicacy at many Boston-area bakeries, too! Wilson Farm, Kane’s Donuts, and Pizzi Farm all have delectable offerings, but my favorite is at Union Square Donuts! In addition to this cinnamon and clove sugar-dusted deliciousness, they have other seasonal donuts, including maple creemee, candied apple, and pumpkin spice latte.

18. Catch a football game at Harvard Stadium

If the thought of heading to Gillette with your family is daunting, consider catching a local Harvard football game right in Allston! Harvard Stadium is America’s first and oldest intercollegiate concrete stadium. Youth tickets go as low as $5 for some games, and there are lots of other promotions to make these games accessible to all!

19. Enjoy the spooky festivities at Six Flags

Take a ride out to Agawam and experience spooky fun for all ages at Six Flags Boo Fest from September 16 to October 29. There’s trick or treating, family-friendly rides, lawn games, pumpkin decorating, crafts, and more. Or, for the real thrill seekers, try the Fright Fest, with haunted houses, scare zones, and rides in the dark from September 23 to November 5.

20. Soak up local history in Plymouth

Fall is the perfect time to explore this outdoor interactive museum in Plymouth. You can get a feel for what life was like in a 17th-century English village, then visit historic Patuxetalong along the Eel River to learn about the Native peoples who have lived there for over 12,000 years.

Pumpkin Everything :: 9 Boston-Area Bakeries with Amazing Autumn Treats

Flour Bakery's pumpkin muffin — Boston bakeries with autumn treats
Flour Bakery’s pumpkin muffin topped with candied pumpkin seeds

I’m going to say it: Boston is at its BEST in the fall. Is there anything more magical than a crisp fall morning at a local bakery? I can practically smell the sweet air and feel the steam from a pumpkin spice latte on my nose! Throw on your blanket scarf, trounce through the leaves, and head on over to one of our favorite Boston-area bakeries to try a pumpkin treat!

Montilios Baking Company :: Braintree, Brockton, Quincy, Weymouth

Montilios is a South Shore staple. They have four locations and a mobile food truck for your sweet-loving convenience. They offer a pumpkin cannoli that is out. of. this. world. Let that sink in… PUMPKIN CANNOLI. You’re welcome. 

White’s Bakery and Cafe :: Brockton and Mansfield

I host Thanksgiving at our house every year, and I’m not sure if I’m even allowed to bake the desserts anymore after I presented my family with a pumpkin cheesecake from White’s Bakery one year. Creamy and not too pumpkiny, the cheesecake is insanely delicious. White’s also offers an amazing cranberry apple pie and kid-sized whoopie pies that your family will love. They also offer a line of house-made artisan breads that is amazing!

Quebrada Baking Company :: Arlington, Belmont, Watertown, and Wellesley 

Quebrada has a huge assortment of both breakfast pastries and bakery items. Enjoy one of their sugar-dusted pumpkin muffins while you sip one of their expertly brewed coffees. Their Boston cream pie is excellent, too, if you’re looking for a Boston-based treat to share with family over the holidays.

Flour Bakery and Cafe :: Locations in Boston and Cambridge

With nine locations in and around the city, there’s a Flour for everyone! Be prepared to stand in line, but it’s worth it. I’m fairly certain you aren’t allowed to call yourself a Boston resident until you’ve had one of their famous sticky buns. If you’re looking for a more seasonal treat, try their pumpkin spice spice hot chocolate (you read that right!) and a delicious pumpkin muffin topped with candied pumpkin seeds. Or, if you’re feeling indulgent, grab a slice of pumpkin cheesecake or the “piefecta” — pumpkin, pecan, and cream all in one pie!

Fisichelli’s Pastry Shop :: Lawrence 

My husband’s family is super Italian, and they know a good pastry when they taste one. Fisichelli’s is a family party staple for us, and I’m so grateful it is! If you are north of Boston, definitely give this family-owned Italian bakery your business — you won’t be disappointed. Sfogliatelle isn’t exactly a fall-themed pastry, but in our house they are welcome for all seasons!

Weesh Bake Shop :: Roslindale

Ever heard of a Weesh Tart? This woman-owned and -operated bakery not only specializes in beautifully decorated cakes, it has a large following for its take on a Pop-Tart! Only open for retail on Saturdays, the owner has perfected the recipe for all flavors and themes of Pop-Tarts — think “milk and cookies” or “everything bagel.” Their monthly flavor specials are always worth trying, and I can’t wait to see what the next fall flavor will be — fingers crossed for a pumpkin treat at this Boston bakery!

Tatte :: Various Locations in Arlington, Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Newton, Somerville, and Washington, D.C.

A self-taught baker is the mastermind behind this ever-popular bakery — which is actually much more than a bakery! At Tatte you can order breakfast and lunch sandwiches, tartines, shakshuka, salads, and soups. Their seasonal and holiday specialties are always just right, so Tatte in autumn is the place to be!

Ward’s Berry Farm :: Sharon

Not only can you pick the best pumpkin at Ward’s Berry Farm, you can also enjoy this south-of-Boston bakery’s extensive variety of pumpkin treats. Seasonally, their pumpkin bread, muffins, and scones — all baked fresh and delicious! My favorite is the pumpkin chocolate chip bread! The best part about this farm is all the fun the kids will have while you enjoy your pumpkin treat. There’s a playground, bounce pillow, hayrides, and sand boxes. Ward’s Berry Farm is definitely a place to take the whole fam during the fall months!

Donna’s Donuts :: Tewksbury

Don’t let the name fool you! Donuts might be the specialty at Donna’s, but their pumpkin muffin is crumbly, moist, and delicious. You may need to wait in line to get their delicious baked goods — and it will be worth it. While you’re waiting to your muffin, have your donut order ready — I recommend the biggest apple donut you’ll have. This place has the best deal for a dozen fresh baked donuts!

This post was originally published in 2017 and was updated in 2023 by Krystal Avila.

Mom Sneakers for Fall :: Our 3 Favorite Shoe Styles This Season

woman tying her sneakers, mom sneakers

By definition, moms are busy people. Busy people who spend a lot of time on the go and on their feet. So thank goodness we’re in an era where sneakers are trendy, and there are a ton of affordable options that combine style, comfort, and sustainability! You deserve some new kicks to go with your mom uniform — check these out!

The classics

We wore these in the ’90s, and we’ll continue to buy them in 2023! Whether your preference is Vans, Converse, or Keds, these classics will never go out of style. Bonus points if you buy your kiddo a matching pair. Just be careful if you get the urge to ride their skateboard down the street!

Sporty sneaks

Gone are the days when sneakers were designated solely for exercise. I opt for this style on days when I know I’ll be doing a lot of walking — or when I expect to be running after my kids! All the great athletic shoe brands make cute street sneakers for women — try Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Puma, or Reebok. And, bonus, many of these brands make slip-on sneakers — every mom’s dream.

Newer on the scene are brands like Hoka, which are said to be some of the most comfortable shoes ever, and Veja, which uses Brazilian and Peruvian organic cotton for the canvas and laces, Amazonian rubber for the soles, and various innovative materials. Sorel, once known for its quality winter boots, now makes some great sneakers as well.

These days, it’s easy to find comfortable yet fun sneakers like these anywhere, from your local sporting goods store or department store to sites like Amazon and Zappos (which makes it easy to order a few sizes and send back the ones that don’t work). You’ll even spot them at places like J.Crew and Anthropologie!

Trendy kicks

There are a number of trendy brands that either focus exclusively on sneakers or have them as part of their offerings. First up is Allbirds, which makes sneakers from sustainable wool, and they’re known for being amazingly comfortable.

Everlane’s stylish shoes are made from durable, sustainably sourced materials — and they’re machine washable. The clean look of Everlane’s shoes is timeless, so no need to worry about these sneakers going out of style!

Want another eco-friendly option? Madewell’s Kickoff trainers use recycled and sustainable materials! Also, the “cloudlift” insoles are designed to have you feeling like you’re walking on a cloud.

Next up is Vince, the fashion brand that offers a number of different slip-on sneaker options for women in various colors and fabrics. One of the most popular is the perforated Blair style, or try the Warren (pictured below) to give yourself a little height — the rubber platform sole is hollowed to ensure a light weight!

The brand Birdies offers the retro cool Roadrunner in lots of fun colors and prints. The comfort level on these means your feet will be happy in them all day long!

Rothy’s has turned more than 125 million single-use plastic bottles into their signature thread, so that’s a huge win for me! Rothy’s makes slip-on, lace-up, and high-top sneakers, so you’re bound to find something that both feels and looks great on your feet!

Kiziks have taken the mom world by storm recently because they truly require zero hands to put them on! They’re also incredibly comfortable — every mom’s dream!

This post was originally written by Rachel Wilson in 2018 and has been updated for 2023.

15 Mom-Recommended Dance Studios :: South of Boston

group of children at a dance class, dance studios south of boston

I didn’t enroll in my first dance class until I was in fourth grade. It’s something I regret — I wish I had been involved in dance at a younger age and become more aware of the movement of my body. I’ve always loved to dance; I just never had formal training beyond the few classes I took.

When my daughters were born, I knew I would enroll them in dance if they showed interest. But I had no knowledge of the local dance studios and didn’t know where to begin. Luckily, a fellow mom suggested a studio, and we began our dance journey. And now, I have two girls who love dance — and a studio we all love.

Many moms don’t know where to go or when to begin. So I put together this list of favorite dance studios south of Boston — all of which have been recommended by local moms! The tried and true. The studios where our kiddos dance, grow, and thrive!

DanceWorks :: Quincy

This studio has classes for dancers age 3 to adult. One mom told me the dancers start in classes with a group and stay together as they progress, creating great friendships. Both recreational dance and competitive dance are offered here. The adult classes even get to perform in the recital at the end of the year! While the dancing is on pointe (get it?), it’s the friendships that stand out most for these moms and their dancers.

Performance Dance Center :: Weymouth

Starting with “mommy and me” classes (dads welcome, too!), PDC is a great place for new dancers in Weymouth. There is also a variety of dance classes for kids to adults, both recreational and competitive. This studio is family owned, and they pride themselves on their philosophy of dance — one that encourages dedication, hard work, and fun. 

The Dance Connection :: Avon

This studio offers classes to students “ages 2 to 92!” This studio is warm and welcoming and even has events throughout the year to celebrate different holidays.

Dance Dimension Studio :: Abington

Offering recreational classes starting at age 2, along with competitive dance and performing arts classes, this studio is one to check out if you are looking for variety. It is family owned and very welcoming.

New England Dance Academy :: North Attleboro

Described as a “powerhouse studio,” classes at NEDA start at age 2. They treat their recreational classes the same as their competition classes, with a focus on technique and style. 

The Gold School :: Brockton

With a reputation for developing professional dancers, the Gold School is one to check out. Training is both recreational and competitive, with classes for every dancer, at every stage. As one mom says, “They make dance accessible for all kids.” Their dream team of faculty members includes former students as well as many celebrated and classically trained choreographers.

Michelle’s School of Dance :: East Bridgewater

This studio is well loved by many locals. Classes start at 18 months, and both recreational and competitive dance instruction are offered. Michelle, the owner, is there most nights and truly loves what she does. Many of the moms like how the classes move along together, allowing the kids to create friendships that last years.

Dance Theater of New England :: Bridgewater

This is where my first daughter started her dance career! This studio, owned by Ms. Deb, has been operating for 20 years and is a place where dancers thrive. Many of the students go on to perform on Broadway; some even return to teach special classes for the dancers, year after year. It truly is a magical place for its dance family.

Coffey Dance :: East Bridgewater

Another well-loved studio, Coffey Dance has been around since 1964. Classes are for dancers age 18 months and up. The studio has a strong community presence, and the dancers often participate in local parades together. This studio also features a winter recital and a spring recital. 

Bethany’s Center for Dance :: Hanover

This studio is perfect for the littles — “all the parents always comment on how well the children listen to her!” one mom said. Classes start at age 2 and continue on from recreational dance to competitive dance.

Etoile Dance & Yoga Studio :: Pembroke

This studio offers classes in both dance and yoga, with toddler dance starting at age 2. There are both recreational and competitive dance classes, along with drop-in classes for students who aren’t ready for the commitment of a full-year class. A variety of yoga classes, barre classes, and dance classes are offered for ages 14 and up. This studio also hosts various workshops throughout the year featuring guest instructors. 

Julie’s Studio of Dance :: West Bridgewater

This studio is very family centered. The owner, Julie, passed away several years ago, but her husband has continued to run the studio, along with her sister and friends, in her memory. One of the most important things to Julie was making dance accessible to everyone — even the competition teams are open to all dancers! Julie’s also offers “Joyful Movement,” a dance class for offering a safe place to learn and have fun for students with special needs.

In the Wings Academy of Dance :: Easton

This is where my girls currently dance, and we love it. Ms. Christine, the owner, is so warm and welcoming. The studio runs classes for students age 2 and up, both recreational and competitive, Monday through Saturday. What I love most about this studio is how encouraging the teachers are — my girls are growing as dancers because they feel safe and loved by the faculty. This year will be our first adventure into the world of competitive dance — wish us luck!

Keeping Pace with Multiple Miracles :: West Bridgewater

This place is a godsend for new moms — and all moms! Ms. Katie, a mom of twins and a woman basically put on this earth to teach little dancers, teaches six-week classes to any child who can walk — no dance experience necessary! My girls did this when we were in between studios, and they loved it. This studio is less intense than many of the options above, but there is a little recital at the end of each session for the dancers to show off their moves. An absolute delight!

Kingston Parks & Recreation Department :: Kingston

“On Your Toes with Miss Tracey” is perfect for families looking for a casual dance class. Classes are just once a week for an hour, for children ages 3 and up. Classes are for both residents and non-residents of Kingston. Students learn two dance routines that they perform at an end-of-the-year recital.

An Extra Special Date Night with Keenee!

This post was sponsored by our friends at Keenee, but the ideas and views are all our own!


Boston by electric boat date night
Image courtesy of Keenee

You are a mom, a cook, a chauffeur, the keeper of the schedule and most likely the date night planner. How often do you and your partner miss date night or get stuck in a simple dinner date rut because you simply do not have the bandwidth to make any more decisions.  What’s more, adventurous date nights sound fun but they require a ton of advanced planning and don’t provide much time for 1:1 connection with your spouse. It’s time to shake it up and change it up! You may be surprised how easy it is to do something new and creative for your next date night, and all with just a few clicks. Book your date night through Keenee!

Here is our idea of a perfect Boston date night:

Start your date with an Electric Boat Ride in Boston Harbor.  Think about it: when was the last time, if ever, you got to see our beautiful city from the water.  You can rent an electric boat through Keenee and you can even captain the boat yourself!  Not to worry, no boating license required and it is easy to do.  Want a more relaxed and luxe vibe? Hire a boat Captain and sit back and relax.  Bring snacks and beverages, and enjoy a truly unique view of Boston.

Captain of Boston Electric Boats for Keenee
Image courtesy of Keenee and Boston Electric Boats

And now that you are all chilled out and relaxed it is time for a meal.  A meal you do not have to prepare, flight with kids over consumption, and then clean up. How about a picnic? You can rent a picnic from Keenee too! Yes, a picnic that is fully prepared and fancy just for you. 

Keenee picnic date night
Image courtesy of Keenee

If you feel like you are missing out on adventurous date nights and also need some time to connect with your partner, a boat rental and picnic could be the perfect opportunity to do both. Have a few friends who would enjoy going on a date with their spouse, too, and tagging along for a group event? This is also a great option for a group date!

And if you are really looking to do NO planning for your next date night, then your best bet is to send your significant other to Keenee and tell them to take hold of the planning. Keenee makes it easy to navigate date night planning, even for the partners who aren’t usually in charge of the reservations!

Boston Moms is excited to see how Keenee transforms the sharing economy in Greater Boston and beyond, and we encourage you to check it out for yourself by downloading the app today!

make money with your unused baby gear by becoming a keenee provider

Why the Jewish New Year Works for Everyone

apples and honey for Rosh Hashana — the Jewish New Year

I’ve always loved this time of year for the newness of it all. Shiny new shoes, brand new clothes, sleek new haircuts, backpacks filled with new supplies. The days are getting shorter, the air is sometimes a bit cooler, and we can see a hint of oncoming fall in the leaves. It’s time to take a deep breath and start fresh. To recommit to learning, to make new friends, to begin something exciting.

It’s also time for the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana — the new year. It seems almost fortuitous that the Jewish new year falls in line with the new school year. It feels right that at the same time our children meet their new teachers and classmates, we start to think about how we can make this year even better than the last. The themes of Rosh Hashana fit seamlessly with this time of year. Here’s why.

1. Rosh Hashanah is all about newness

One tradition many follow is eating a new fruit on Rosh Hashana — something you may not have tasted in awhile or ever, for that matter. I’m planning to hit up that funky fruit section at Wegman’s and buy something I’ve never tasted before. We eat the fruit and then say a short prayer called the shehecheyanu (it’s even hard for the Jews to pronounce!), which expresses our gratitude for being alive to try this new experience.

At this time of year I feel a lot of gratitude. I am grateful to have my children in wonderful schools, where they feel supported and loved. I am grateful to have just started a new job that’s been exciting and challenging from the start. I am grateful we are supported by wonderful communities, families, and friends. Rosh Hashana is a great time to take a moment to be grateful, to offer up a little prayer (however you want to say it and to whatever kind of deity or non-deity makes sense to you), and to savor that newness.

2. Rosh Hashanah is all about sweetness

The two foods that are emblematic of this time of year are apples and honey. We dip apples in honey and offer each other wishes of a new year filled with moments of happiness and sweetness. Apples are sweet enough on their own, but when you dip them in honey it’s even more of a taste explosion. And that’s purposeful, too. The intensity of that sweetness in your mouth, the crunch of the apple, and the smoothness of the honey — that’s all to emphasize that desire for good things in the year to come.

Another Jewish tradition is that learning should always be sweet; an old story says teachers used to put honey on the children’s slates so they would always think of school as a special place. I love the idea that learning should be special and sweet. It’s a gift to be able to learn and grow, and at Rosh Hashana we can take some time to notice that gift as we bite into our crisp apples. Plus, it’s the world’s greatest excuse for New England’s favorite fall activity — apple picking!

3. And finally, Rosh Hashanah is a chance to start over

It’s a chance to think about our behavior from the past year and recommit to being better. To start fresh. To reinvent ourselves. Many of us do that on January 1 (until we fall off our proverbial wagons three weeks later), but I love how Rosh Hashana comes at the same time that we start our fall routines. We step back into schedule, to packing lunches, to figuring out after-school care, and I always find it a little bit easier to stick to my Rosh Hashana resolutions.

Judaism also emphasizes working on our person-to-person interactions at Rosh Hashana; that’s where it’s most important to be kind and thoughtful and empathetic. To be our best selves. I try to think about how I can be the best mother, partner, employee, and human I can be. It’s a chance to promise to myself that I can change for the better.

Whether you’re celebrating Rosh Hashana or simply the start of a new school year, may you have a good — and sweet — new year!


11 Items That ACTUALLY Helped Me Travel Internationally With Kids

three children watching airplanes from inside an airport

We did a thing this year we never anticipated. We spent three weeks in Europe in four locations and three countries with our two kids ages 3 and 4 years old. International travel with kids is not for the faint of heart. Many dollars were spent. Little sleep was had. Memories were definitely made.

We had the opportunity to go to Portugal for my husband’s sister’s (stunningly beautiful) wedding and decided we might as well make the most of the flight across the pond and see some sights! And we had the pleasure of bouncing around these places with other family members — five adults and five kids under 6 jaunting around Portugal, Spain, and France during the hottest and most popular times to travel? Utter chaos!

I am by no means a “super chill, light packing, laissez faire traveling mom.” But we tried to be as reasonable as possible with what we were bringing based on the places we were going and the amount of time we’d use the things we were packing. Here are a few of the items I purchased and used that actually made my life easier during the trip.

1. Over-the-door shoe organizer

Credit to my husband for finding this hack. I will be doing this method of packing for my kids for as long as their clothes fit in here! We bought each kid a cheap over-the-door shoe organizer. I put full outfits (including undies and socks) in each pocket. I was able to fit eight casual outfits, four nicer outfits, four sets of pajamas, four bathing suits, three pairs of shoes, and one jacket. We then folded each organizer into one side of a carry-on-size rolling suitcase. When we got to each location, we simply hung up the organizer, and boom. Amazing.

Not fancy, but the real version of how I used this.

2. Inflatable swimmies

I am not a lifeguard or safety expert. I would certainly not leave my kids in a body of water unattended with any water safety device, regardless of quality. But we could not fit their regular swim vests in our luggage, so these were clutch for just having them feel more willing and confident in going in pools and oceans on the trip with us. And they packed super flat.

3. Halfday 2-in-1 garment duffel

We were going to Europe for a black-tie wedding — that both of my kids were in. For our trip, we checked one suitcase for each adult, one for the kids, and one for snacks. But we wanted to make sure we absolutely had all of our necessary wedding items with no risk of a missing luggage situation. So we got this duffel bag, and it was awesome. It fit a suit and tux for my husband, my rehearsal and wedding dresses (both long), our shoes, and the kids’ outfits for both wedding events. It was cozy, but everything fit — and within carry-on limits. And we had everything we needed with us on the plane — no stress!

4. Portable fans

It was hot in most of our locations. We stayed in Airbnbs that did not always have air conditioning. Ya girl runs hot, and so do my kids. I ordered a few different USB-charging portable fans, and they kept me alive, whether wrapped around a stroller handle or positioned right next to my head to sleep. This was the best one I got!

5. Thermos

If you have an annoyingly picky eater like I do, try this hack. We packed a suitcase full of my toddler’s favorite foods, knowing we’d have kitchens and could cook. We encouraged him to try new foods as much as possible, but also, you have to survive. So, we would often make pasta or other things he likes and bring it in one of these on our sightseeing or restaurant visits so he could not be hangry and we could potentially enjoy ourselves.

6. Card games

These games were a random, last-minute purchase, and they were great during airport delays and even at the houses we rented to keep the kids busy and get a break from screen time.

7. “Mess-free” coloring

If your kids like art, these things are so great. I remember using these as a kid, and the quality has improved significantly since the ’80s! We gave the kids each a book with these mess-free markers, and my 4-year-old used this WAY more than the iPad.

8. Toiletry bag

I’m usually a “grab a random toiletry bag from TJ Maxx” type of gal, but having recently explored and leaned into my ADHD diagnosis, I realized I could use some more structure in organizing and protecting my toiletry items. So I did a little research and found this dupe of one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things.” It has four inside pockets and also folds, zips, and hangs.  The exterior jewelry organizer was the selling point for me! Instead of having a toiletry bag, a makeup bag, and a random sack of loose jewelry, I had one bag! Big fan.

The jewelry section locked me in!

9. Belt bag (Lululemon dupe)

Again, not a “hot take,” but I wanted a small bag that was easy to carry outside of a diaper bag — and I didn’t want to spend the name brand prices. This was just big enough to fit the essentials and is very similar to the more expensive options.

10. Shorts

As I mentioned, it was hot at our destination, and I am a proud member of the “thick thighs save lives” club. These are soft and comfortable — and are not shapewear. They held me in enough to feel secure but not squeezed. They were great for wearing with sundresses and sneakers for sightseeing.

11. Kizik sneakers

Speaking of sneakers, I had been looking for a comfortable pair of white sneakers that I could use for allllll the walking we were going to be doing but not look like a total zhlub.  Ones I could dress up with a sundress for the Louvre or dress down with bike shorts for Park Güell. These are an amazingly comfortable, truly step-in, hands-free shoe. I will warn that they are cleanable, not washable like some other brands, so keeping them clean is a challenge.

This is my short list of purchases that were actually worth it for our international travels with kids. Hope it helps anyone else venturing out into the world with littles for the first — maybe last — time!

Jewish Holidays 101 :: Why Your Kids Have the Day Off School

Honey, Pomegranate, Apples and Shofar on Wooden Table. Rosh Hashana Holiday

Fall brings the back-to-school season, autumn colors on the trees, pumpkin spice everything, and, for those whose are Jewish, two very important holidays. While many children have the day off of school for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, they may not know why. If these holidays are unfamiliar to you or if you are unsure of how to explain them, we can help!

What is Rosh Hashana?

Rosh Hashana is the Jewish new year! The literal translation in Hebrew of Rosh Hashana is “the head of the year” or “first of the year.”

When is Rosh Hashana?

This year Rosh Hashana will begin at sundown (as most Jewish holidays do) on September 15 and end at sundown on September 17. The Jewish calendar follows a lunar schedule (cycles of the moon), so it doesn’t always correspond to the same day in the American calendar each year. For example, in 2024 Rosh Hashana will start on October 2 at sundown.

How do people celebrate Rosh Hashana?

People celebrate Rosh Hashana in many different ways!

Many people have dinner with family and friends on either the first or second night (or both!). Many celebrate with sweet foods, like apples and honey, to celebrate a sweet new year and a round challah (a type of bread) to celebrate the cycle of the year.

Families may attend synagogue (temple) and recite prayers, sing songs, and listen to the blowing of a special horn called a shofar.

Some celebrate with a custom known as tashlich, which translates to “casting off.” Those who celebrate throw pieces of bread or rocks into a body of water while reciting a prayer. During this ritual, people think of things they’ve done wrong in the past year and then “throw them away,” promising to improve in the coming year. It is like a literal casting off of your sins.

What is Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur is the day of atonement. Jewish people will ask for forgiveness for their sins from God and from other people they may have wronged. This is the holiest day of the year in the Jewish religion.

When is Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur begins 10 days after the start of Rosh Hashanah. In 2024 it will start at sundown on September 24 and end at sundown on September 25.

How do people celebrate Yom Kippur?

This day is a holiday, but it is celebrated with a lot of reflection and prayer. Traditional Jewish text says that at the end of Yom Kippur, God seals your fates for the coming year. Many attend services at temple and fast from all food and drinking, as it is believed that fasting is another way to reflect and repent for your sins. It is important to note that in traditional Jewish practice, children under 13 are not expected to fast, nor are pregnant women or anyone with a medical condition that fasting would intensify.

The holidays will typically end with a meal after sundown to break the fast with family and friends.

Where can I find resources to share with my children about Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur?

The following books and websites are great for learning more about the Jewish holidays!

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: With Honey, Prayers, and the Shofar

Rosh Hashanah Facts for Kids

Yom Kippur Facts for Kids


Photos to Always Remember This Phase :: My Experience With Boston Baby Photos

This feature in our "Meet the Photographer" series was sponsored by Boston Baby Photos. We are pleased to recommend this service to our readers!

When I first spoke to Jess McDaniel of Boston Baby Photos, I knew the photos she would capture of our family would make me smile for years to come. Jess is a South Shore mom of two and she so clearly loves what she does. When we chatted about our upcoming session, Jess explained that her style is mostly candid and that her goal is to take photos that really capture our current phase of life — which, with three little boys, includes lots of giggles, talking at the same time, and the occasional finger in someone’s nose. 

Getting ready and change of direction

Going into our session with Jess, the plan was to photograph our boys in their natural element, doing what they love to do. So we had discussed some potential setups, such as outside in the backyard, riding their scooters, and helping feed the baby. I dressed them each in casual shorts and T-shirts, a little less dressy than I would typically do for family photos, and was ready to head outside for some action shots.

Well, we never did make it outside because the boys had other plans — as preschoolers, toddlers, and babies tend to have. Instead, we wound up starting the session in our family room, where we spend most of our time, with the boys snuggled up on the couch. We then moved to the floor to include our dog in some photos of all of us together!

“Tell me what you love”

Jess made a point of asking each of the older boys what some of their favorite toys in their room were. While I was getting the baby ready for the next set of photos, Jess went in the big boys’ room with them and snapped some individual photos that really capture each of their personalities perfectly.

It meant so much to me that Jess spoke to our older boys directly and included them in the process in such a meaningful way. She snapped a photo of our oldest wearing his pre-K graduation hat and holding his trusty binoculars up to his eyes and, trust me when I say, that is exactly how I’ll remember him at age 5. The smile on his face in that photo is so genuine and so big because it’s a photo that is so authentically him.

Capturing a special time

In addition to the photos of all of the boys together and our whole family, Jess was able to capture some truly indescribably precious photos for me. When the baby got hungry about halfway through our session, I turned to Jess and asked, “Would it be crazy to get some photos of me nursing him?” Her enthusiasm and immediate, “I LOVE nursing photos!” was the perfect response.

While I fed the baby, Jess worked her magic. She captured everything from the way he holds my finger while he nurses to a really beautiful shot looking down at him from my point of view. Up until this session, the only photos I had of me nursing my babies were selfies I’d taken myself! These photos may never be framed in our family room for everyone to see (although, who knows… maybe they will be!), but I will cherish every one of them and am so grateful to Jess for giving me the gift of really beautiful photos of this very special phase.

Even more baby photos

One of the best things about working with Jess is that she knows every parent wants more photos of their baby. She offers a few different options for purchasing photos, such as an annual plan, which includes a beautiful coffee table album. We all know how quickly our babies grow and change during that first year and how badly we want to bottle up every month, milestone, and stage.

I can’t recommend Jess of Boston Baby Photos enough — I’m so thankful to have photos of our current phase of life and all of its loud, messy, energetic beauty.

Rosh Hashana Recipe Roundup :: 8 Ways to Enjoy Apples and Honey

Rosh Hashanah recipes - Boston MomsIt’s hard to believe, but Rosh Hashana is around the corner. The Jewish new year starts at sundown on Friday, September 15. Traditionally, apples and honey are eaten with the idea of bringing sweetness to the new year and remembering that years are cyclical and round like an apple.

Whether you’re on your own, hosting others, or going out, there is always room for more sweetness and more apples and honey-infused dishes at the table.

Here is a roundup of dishes featuring apples and honey, from start to finish. Play your cards right, and you can have a super sweet start to the new year.

Classic apple and honey tasting

Before the meal even starts, have an apples and honey tasting. Buy (or pick!) various apples, slice them up, and arrange from tart to sweet. You can also arrange them in a rainbow. Expand your family’s palates by buying different types of honey. See if you can tell the difference between the locally sourced and the mass-produced varieties.

Apple-stuffed challah popovers

Challah is known for its sweet, doughy goodness year round. What happens when you take your favorite challah recipe, turn it into individual portions, and stuff it with sweet, gooey, apple filling? Sheer bliss.

Honey garlic chicken breast

This healthy chicken breast recipe is super easy and super versatile. You can make it dairy free (use oil instead of butter) or try it on salmon, beef, or tofu. You can also make extra sauce to put on rice or veggies.

Instant Pot matzo ball soup

OK, so technically this recipe has no apples or honey in it, but how can you have a Jewish holiday with no matzo ball soup? This is a delightfully simple recipe, where the matzo balls cook while the rest of the soup does, too.

Roasted glazed carrot tzimmes

This is not your Bubbe’s soggy, prune-filled tzimmes! This tzimmes involves roasted carrots, maple syrup (OK, not honey, but close enough) for sweetness, and balsamic vinegar for depth.

Honey balsamic roasted brussels sprouts

This roasted vegetable recipe stays true to the Rosh Hashana honey theme. These will make a brussels sprout lover out of anyone. My kids love them. I sometimes add onion powder or garlic powder. 

Honey-roasted apples  

The beauty of this dish is 1) it’s apples and honey all in one, and 2) it can be dessert or a side dish.  

Apple cake

No Rosh Hashana feast is complete without honey cake or apple cake. And in New England, with so many amazing apple orchards around, any excuse for more apples will do! There are so many varieties of apple cake, and truthfully, you really can’t go wrong. The presentation of this cake is phenomenal and is a great way to end the meal. And the best part? Any leftover cake makes for a great breakfast. 

If you haven’t had your fill, feel free to do another round of sliced apples, dessert style. Serve sliced apples with a variety of dippers — chocolate sauce, caramel, marshmallow fluff. Add sprinkles to up your game. 

For an indulgent adult treat, sip your dessert by enjoying honey wine. You’ll thank me later.

To all those who are celebrating, shana tova! Happy New Year. 


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