Category Archives: new posts

On Camping with family: the gift of no mirrors

Conceptual image of a woman's face in rippled water

First posted at Parent.Co

I stumble into a hotel, laden with my bags, my kids’ stuffed animals, eager to go to sleep.

After driving cross country, camping for several weeks, then starting back across the country, I’m excited for clean sheets, a flush toilet, and a fluffy pillow.  Simple, lovely things we take for granted. I’m ready to dive in the cozy heap and call it a night.

First I walk into the bright, sterile bathroom. A wide mirror stretches across the wall. It’s huge. I look up, and think, “Oh, that is what I look like?” and immediately think next, “Damn, I need some sleep, a haircut, etc. etc.” quickly followed by, “I’m looking old.”

But wait. You see, I hadn’t thought any of that a minute ago. In fact, I hadn’t looked in a mirror for weeks. The only time I did was when I’d tilt the rear view mirror my direction and take out my contacts before crawling into the tent. My thoughts were filled with camping dinners, day time hikes, my daughters, the magnificent wildlife and scenery, and what I was reading, not anything related to my appearance.

Like most campers, I wore only what made me warm and comfortable. Tevas with wool socks. My hooded sweatshirt with the hood up. I had no care about any of it – only that I wanted to stay warm and dry (which is no easy task in Yellowstone’s weather-finicky Lamar valley). I didn’t change clothes for days, except at night into my “non bear-y” clothes so the grizzlies didn’t come visit our tent. We took a handful of showers over the course of 3 weeks. I didn’t really miss them. Continue reading

New Posts on MomsRising, Moms Clean Air Force, and Non-Toxic Kids

2014 ecotiptue


Last week was very busy in the area of environmental health and in my posting.  I wrote articles on Non-Toxic Kids, and for MomsRising and Moms Clean Air Force.


On Non-Toxic Kids, I reviewed the top 3 stories of the week. GMO free Cheerios, new flame retardant rules, and Triclosan under review by the FDA top the list.  The issues to report on and decisions to make as a parent are endless! I also wrote a post sharing 8 ways to help children avoid toxic chemicals at public schools. This is an issue near and dear to my heart as a teacher, parent and writer.


At Moms Clean Air Force, I shared my take on the top 10 children’s health stories of 2013. These clearly indicate how regular parents are impacting the decisions companies are making for the better. We have the power– and in 2014 we need to continue to use it to move markets and legislation in favor of protecting public health versus profits.


On MomsRising, I shared  10 tips for a green, toxin-free and healthy 2014. These were from the MomsRising weekly Twitter chat I host called #EcoTipTue. We had three great guests and lots of participants who shared their ideas and goals for 2014.  The ideas are inspiring and give me hope that we will continue to make great progress is raising healthy families and protecting kids everywhere.




Letter for Newtown (and all) Teachers

Last month I wrote a letter to the fallen teachers of Sandy Hook in Connecticut. I was deeply moved after learning about their last acts of selflessness. I viewed my teaching colleagues with new eyes, and my perception of bravery is forever changed.

You can find the letter here at the Fox News opinion page.

Later that morning, I was contacted by a producer at the Megyn Kelly show to do an interview. I ran to the special education office, plugged in my computer, and was interviewed live via Skype. Both Megyn and I were close to tears as we recounted the heroism of the brave teachers who lost their lives protecting their students.

You can see that interview here. 

I’ve been touched by the many teachers who found this letter inspiring and comforting. In small and big ways, we need to lift each other up, to change the perceptions of teaching as a career, and work together to protect children from harm.