Jill Feigelman

What the Easter Bunny and Inviting Elijah In Taught Me About My Parents

Written on April 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm , by

Confession: The Easter Bunny terrified me as a kid. And to be honest, I’m still a little wary of rabbits bearing Easter treats. That’s not to say that I’m afraid of bunnies in general, or even giant bunnies in particular (Harvey is one of my favorite movies).

It all started with the Bunny Incident. The fear brought on by that one event extended throughout my Easter-Passover (Esterover, to me) activities, even the opening of the door for Elijah at our seders. (Raised in a family with a Jewish dad and a Catholic mom, I was celebrating multiple holidays before Chrismukkah was even a word.)

When I awoke on Easter morning at the age of 3, my eyes popped. Not from seeing a basket filled to the brim with chocolate and Peeps (you could have bribed me to do anything with those bits of marshmallow goodness) but because of the circle of stuffed bunnies from my toy collection that surrounded the basket. Bunnies of all shapes and colors had their button eyes focused on my basket of treats. How did they get there? I knew they couldn’t walk. That left only one suspect: the Easter Bunny himself. This was the moment I came up with the Bunny Ban.

According to my parents, I shakily stated that I didn’t want the Easter Bunny (a giant 8-foot-tall pink-fur-covered creature in my mind) coming into my room and rummaging through my mountain of toys ever again. When my dad joked that if I didn’t want the Bunny to visit anymore I just had to say something, I pondered. Even at that young age I knew not to bite the hand that fed me. Then I clarified: I still wanted the baskets, but the Bunny had to leave them outside my bedroom door.

Thus the Bunny Ban went into effect. And that would be the case for the next few years. Still, I always felt a little trepidation on Easter night, and that feeling spilled over into our seders. Other than reciting the Four Questions (questions 3 and 4 were always a family effort, since I never could remember them all), opening the door to let Elijah in was my favorite part of the service. But after the Bunny Incident, I started thinking about what might happen if Elijah actually did come in or if the wine disappeared from Elijah’s glass. Similarly, I always wondered what I would do if I caught the Easter Bunny breaking my ban.

When I came to the realization that the 8-foot pink-fur creature was actually my parents, a sense of relief washed over me. Now when I recall the Bunny Incident, I break into a smile. I understand it was actually a very cute sign of how much my parents loved me. Not that I really needed a bunny circle to prove it. They tried to make everything special for me, even letting me open the door for Elijah all by myself as a young kid at Passover.

I also learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes doing something nice for a child backfires in ways you could never imagine. But even when parents make mistakes, most of the time they make them out of love.

 

High School Teachers Read Mean Tweets About Themselves

Written on March 14, 2014 at 1:19 pm , by

While we know that it’s impossible to post anything online truly anonymously, sometimes we all need a bit of reminding. Especially teens.

But that wisdom will definitely stick for the video production students of Los Alamitos High School. The students drove home the “be careful what you post” message in this very funny video in the style of the popular Jimmy Kimmel segment “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets”.

Teachers (one of whom didn’t even know what a tweet was) read mean messages about themselves as the song “Everybody Hurts” plays lightly in the background. Although the tweets are not real, they’re all based on the students’ most common thoughts about the teachers. Besides proving a point, this video shows that high school teachers have a pretty good sense of humor.

Be sure to share this video with your teen.

Video: Mom’s Heartwarming Birthday Surprise to Son Goes Viral

Written on February 12, 2014 at 2:27 pm , by


A Michigan boy is in for a very big birthday surprise, all thanks to his mom.

When Jennifer Cunningham asked her 10-year-old son, Colin, if he wanted a birthday party, the response she got back was heartbreaking. He said no, because he had no friends to invite.

Colin has a hard time connecting with kids because of a condition similar to Asperger’s syndrome.

Jennifer decided to make a Facebook page, “Happy Birthday Colin,” with the hope that friends and family would wish Colin well on his special day. To her surprise, the page went viral and now has over a million likes and counting. Strangers from across the world are sending messages for Colin’s big day. And the best part is Colin doesn’t know about the page at all. The plan is to reveal it on his birthday, March 9.

His little sister (who is keeping the secret as well) thinks that when Colin sees the messages he will “scream his pants off.”

The web can lead to wonderful things, don’t you think?

 

Meet Our Orlando Vacation Contest Winners!

Written on December 16, 2013 at 9:41 am , by

Written by Jill Feigelman 

Photo credit: Visit Orlando

Orlando is the American city most synonymous with the family vacation. A place where memories are created, it calls to mind visions of sunny beaches as well as theme parks. And when you make “couple only” time a priority, the classic Orlando family vacation can do wonders for your marriage.

Family Circle teamed up with our friends at Visit Orlando and had readers share with us why their family deserved to win the ultimate getaway: a five-day/four-night trip for four with special time to reconnect with their significant other. We sorted through hundreds of entries, and while it wasn’t easy, we picked our three winners!

FC caught up with the three lucky families to see what they’re most looking forward to on their upcoming Orlando vacation.

Winner #1- Leslie Dahlman 

You could say Leslie is an expert packer. She and her family have moved from Jacksonville to San Antonio to Las Vegas to Houston—all within the span of four and a half years. But when Leslie packs for Orlando, she’ll be especially happy. That’s because while Leslie is now living in Florida due to her most recent job relocation, her husband of 17 years, Ray, and their 15-year-old son, Raymond, have stayed in Texas.

Even with daily Skype sessions, the separation is still hard (especially when it comes to missing her son’s football games). When the family is all in the same place, they’re extremely busy, which leaves hardly any downtime. “We’re trying to fit everything into a few days,” Leslie says.

Leslie jokes that the next time she thought she’d be able to go to Disney was when she had grandkids, which was not soon enough for this Disney fan. Originally from Jacksonville, she’s got Disney in her blood. Ray grew up hooked on Astroland, but Leslie is hoping this trip will convert him. Besides sharing her love of Disney with the family, Leslie is excited to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: “If it’s as amazing as everyone says it is, I might just have to spend the whole day there.”

Leslie and Ray are looking forward to a special meal out and finding the best location to watch fireworks from one of the theme parks. Since the Fourth of July was the first holiday the couple celebrated together, fireworks hold a special place in their heart.

Winner 2 – Christina Radke

Over the past year, “alone” time for Christina and Jason, her husband of seven and a half years, has mostly consisted of going to doctor’s appointments and, later, chemo sessions.

When Christina was diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, she quickly saw that the diagnosis affected not just her but her whole family as well. Her son, who was in kindergarten at the time, would periodically share her treatment stories with his class. “He would let them know about me losing my hair and getting a new wig and how I wasn’t supposed to cook in it because it might catch fire. It made me laugh when I visited his school to have lunch with him and got an impromptu cancer Q&A from his kindergarten class,” Christina recalls.

Christina’s last radiation treatment was on August 5, and she found out she’d won the trip two days later. “I was beyond excited! Heart racing and tears. I know that may seem a little overdramatic, but cancer treatments come with some pretty extreme emotions and make you appreciate the little and big things in life,” she says.

This will be her family’s first trip to Orlando. Christina is most excited to see Disney’s Magic Kingdom because “it just seems like such a beautiful and magical place.” Both her boys (9-year-old stepson Christopher and 6-year-old Hunter) are excited about the hotel and its pool. “I have to admit the hotel [Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek] looks like an attraction on its own,” she explained. The boys are also looking forward to going on their first airplane ride.

Christina and Jason are planning a special meal with just each other at Bull & Bear Steakhouse, located at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Orlando Hotel, or at La Luce and then a night out in Downtown Disney. They might even catch a Cirque du Soleil show.

This vacation will be a chance to let go of the challenges of the past year. “It will signal getting back to having fun and not having that nagging diagnosis in the back of everyone’s minds,” Christina said.

Winner 3 – Megan Scarniac 

Megan Scarniac, her parents and her sister will be bringing their own brand of magic to Orlando.

Scarniac family vacations usually include driving to their destination. “My dad told us about trail magic, which means the things that happen along the way that are out of the ordinary. We’ve seen so many neat things, like eagles soaring, manatees in a spring,” she explained.

Megan is engaged and is planning her wedding for next December. Megan thought that this trip to Orlando would be a great way to give back to her parents, who have not been able to enjoy a nice vacation in years due to financial struggles.

Since the family’s first vacation was to Orlando, they thought it would be great to return to the city as just the four of them one last time, before her wedding. The Scarniacs are excited about revisiting a lot of the sites that are the basis for so many of their family memories. And they’re looking forward to making some new ones, especially at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

 

 

 

 

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VIDEO: Schoolkids Take a Stand Against Bullying with Victim Appreciation Day

Written on November 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm , by

 

Actions speak louder than words. When a group of fifth-graders from Williams Intermediate School in Massachusetts decided to stand up for a bullied friend, they didn’t just talk the talk. The group, calling themselves Band of Brothers, dressed the part too.

Bullied 6-year-old Danny Keefe is the water boy for the Bridgewater Badgers D5 peewee football team. And he takes his job very seriously, wearing a suit and tie to every game. Danny’s style and severe speech impediment made him a target for bullies. Danny, however, didn’t let the comments get to him. But the comments didn’t sit well with the Badgers’ quarterback, Tommy Cooney.

With the help of his teammates, Tommy organized Danny Appreciation Day, when 40 students wore their best suit and tie to celebrate their favorite water boy.

This video proves that the Band of Brothers are wise beyond their years.

Spook-tacular Fun at Boo at the Zoo

Written on October 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm , by

Today might be Halloween, but here at Family Circle we’ve been anticipating this holiday for a while by brewing up our recipes and spooky decor tips.

Halloween fans that we are, when we got to sponsor some pre-October 31st fun at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo we were super excited. Boo at the Zoo is the annual month-long Halloween celebration that includes some (not-so) scary thrills like treat stations, a hay maze and the Extinct & Endangered Species Graveyard.

We hosted a spook-tacular 3-D pumpkin-carving demonstration, face painting and a seasonal crafts table where boys and girls of all ages got to create their own masks to take home. Even our editor in chief, Linda Fears, and our executive editor, Darcy Jacobs, got in on the Halloween fun.

Our favorite photos from Boo at the Zoo follow below! To check out even more photos, click here for our entire Facebook album.

 

At a pre-festivities VIP brunch, children were transformed into characters of all kinds by our master face painters. This girl becomes a ghoul.

Photo credit: Jennifer Cyr with Cyrience Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zoo-goers let their creative juices flow.

Photo credit: Jennifer Cyr with Cyrience Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hocus-pocus! These girls took their time creating these cute witch masks.

Photo credit: Jennifer Cyr with Cyrience Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even editor in chief Linda Fears, publisher Lee Slattery and executive editor Darcy Jacobs got in on the Halloween fun.

Photo credit: Jennifer Cyr with Cyrience Photography