We didn’t imagine we’d learn so much from our friends (and guests!) in one year.
Since Between Carpools launched one year ago, we’ve all learned so many tips and tricks from both each other and from you. Fellow BCPers have recommended products which we’ve found to be so useful, and we’ve been awed by the expertise of so many of you who have graciously shared your knowledge in guest posts. Here’s a few ways in which our lives or routines have been postively affected by the tips we’ve read on BCP.
- Last summer, Esti recommended the Puddle Jumper in her post, The Essential Pooltime Packing List. I suppose it had been off my radar before that, and then, in the same week, I suddenly saw three kids wearing it at the pool all in the same week. It was a sign. I bought one and, wow, did it change my life. Life vests don’t keep kids heads out of water. Puddle Jumpers do. While it’s not a replacement for a parent watching, it sure makes my watching easier. Victoria gave an update here.
- In the last decade, I probably visited stores like Ikea and Walmart twice. Now, I’ve gone twice in the last 10 days. Renee got me hooked on Ikea after I read this post. I wasn’t so convinced I needed those SKUBB but I grabbed a pack when I visited Ikea and now I love how my closets look with them…so much neater! I use them to store out of season shells and tops, keeping them on a top shelf so that they’re easily accessible. After Renee wrote about Walmart, I dutifully shopped in Walmart and then Costco, and Target. Ok, I shopped in every single place Renee wrote about and bought every single thing she recommended. I use these containers she recommended from Costco now exclusively as my dairy storage containers. (You can actually buy them on Amazon so you don’t need to leave your house.)
- I thought this guest post about the 80/20 rule is a game changer. Sometimes you do things, but when you give it a name, it becomes so much easier to stick to it. I may be leaning on the 60/40 but I’ve made progress.
- So many posts discussed the concept of time and how we can expand it. Together, they resulted in a complete mindset change. Shiffy Friedman wrote how Rebbetzin Kotodetsky told her that tefila won’t make your schedule any more tight. And I’ve seen it happen in real life. Then Sina Mizrahi shared a Ted Talk about How to Gain Control of Your Free Time; Esti Waldman wrote how to recharge quickly (you literally need no time for those ideas); and I work with Victoria Dwek who always seems to fit 24 hours of work into 12 (she shared her tricks here). Time can be a mindset and it’s easy to find time for things you love.
- I found one of the tips in Leah’s article “10 Things to Say to Yourself When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed” to be especially poignant and life changing. One of the things she wrote is to tell yourself, “I chose this.” I chose to have these kids, I chose to take on this extra job at work…sometimes, stress comes as a result of extra responsibilities that we chose to take on…and we rather have the stresses along with the blessings (of kids, of parnasah, or whatever else is causing the stress) than not have it at all. When we think of it that way, it’s easier to think “Baruch Hashem for this stress” and not find reason to complain anymore.
- Is it really credible to say that fresh flowers has made a difference in my life? I used to think that flowers was a needless expense to save only for Shavuot time or another. I still might not keep my flowers alive for very long, but since seeing how Renee has brightened up her home with flowers through this post and this one, I felt very inspired. Nowadays, even if it’s just one vase or two, it feels so good and makes me so happy to see fresh flowers when I walk in my home. It’s hard to explain why.
- I found this article by guest contributor Shifra Sadoff to be so on point. There was so much even an experienced mother could learn! I use her tips now on a daily basis, from deciding whether or not to nap a baby, or being more in touch with what my baby needs when she’s crying. Even though my two babies at home are children #5 and #6, and at 2 years old and 8 months they’re hardly up-all-night newborns, her expertise was super helpful and enlightening for moms in any stage and with young children of any age.
- Organization! If you ask any mother for a wish, I bet you’d get the majority of them to say that they wish their home was perfectly organized. It’s something we all have in common and we all wish to perfect, even if it’s just a bit more each year. I love these containers recommended by Esti in her Lego post and, of course, I ordered a label maker after Renee’s series on Labeling, which began here.
Ever heard of the expression “you can learn something from anyone?” I set out on this Between Carpools journey thinking that the five of us will provide a service to frum women in our communities, improving someone’s life along the way. Yet I was completely taken by surprise. Between Carpools taught me more than I ever could have imagined. I look back at this incredible first year and am amazed how much I have personally gained:
- For starters, I can safely state that the blog completely changed my day. Thanks to an article by Shiffy Friedman, I now daven every day. No matter what the day has in store for me. I will get up earlier, if necessary. For that alone I am ever so grateful. Read more about it in an upcoming post, iyh soon.
- My dinner rotation has 3 BCP recipes that we never ever tire of: These Shake and Bake Drumsticks by Sarah Chana Gruskin are something we never tire of. Like one reader suggested, I bake them over thinly wedged potatoes (peel and all) and ta-da, dinner is done. Yep. Dinner done. I’m corny that way, I know. There will not be a Friday night without Shaindy’s Moroccan Fish. Seriously. Even my toddler loves it. And it’s been forever now, yet we are not tired of it. And last here, but not really last because my list is extensive and I decided to point out only my top 3, is the Mongolian Beef. Yes, it is not the type of thing that you’d cook once a week but we reserve it for special occasions like a Yom Tov appetizer or someone’s birthday. If you missed it, go check it out.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes. Seriously. Where have I been all these years???? These spuds compare to nothing. My kugel is on a whole new level thanks to Leah’s tips.
- Packing was always my worst choree ever. I would procrastinate and do anything possible but pack. But, not anymore. Esti introduced me to these incredible packing cubes and now I actually think packing is almost fun. Unpacking even more so.
- Life gets hectic and overwhelming. I bless Victoria daily for this post, that taught me so much about how to keep it cool and get it all done.
Ah, what can I say? It’s been quite a ride (insert eyeroll) this first year at Between Carpools. Meetings, deadlines, photoshoots, editing, and writing, but mostly, sharing. Sharing ideas, recipes, deals, opinions, thoughts – amongst ourselves and with all our readers. And getting many of the above returned in kind from those same readers. I’ve learned so much – and shopped so much – this year, and these are some of my favorite posts:
- Renee told us about this 3-in-1 Old Spice shampoo/body wash combo for boys and that’s definitely changed my boys’ routines.
- She also told us about the SKUBB cube line from Ikea and I now have a bunch of those on top of my closet. Opposite season workout clothes, fat clothes/skinny clothes, the many hoodies I’ve accumulated through my volunteer work – they all have a nice neat place in the closet that’s out of the way, but still accessible.
- Victoria took me on my first visit to BJ’s (post coming soon) and I discovered bulk packs of ices. WholeFruit and Outshine bars in large quantities – but varied flavors. Score!
- We all know that Renee is obsessed with labeling and I’ve found that obsession to be contagious. Right after photographing all the labels all over her house, I ordered a labeling machine for myself.
- The Nine Days and Tisha B’Av were very different for me this year with the inspiration I received here at BCP. All the right reading and watching was right where I needed it without any distraction.
- Every one of the coloring pages and projects was a hit in my house. We’ve used up many a gel pen this year!
- Here’s a little secret about all the great deals we post: we always make sure to take advantage of them before the post goes live because we want first dibs! Those $6 uniform pants? I bought 9 pairs for my son who likes to sit on his knees.
- Something that struck a chord with me and stuck around for a while after reading it was the memories page that Renee referred to when closing up her Pesach kitchen. So much of what we remember from Pesach to Pesach is the hard stuff – lists of what to buy, what to cook, etc. It’s nice to make sure the happy parts are recorded, too, and I iy”H plan to start that tradition with my family.
- There are two recipes that after photographing and tasting became must-haves in my household: Leah’s grilled bread happens every time I barbeque and there’s a salad from Renee that we haven’t even shared on the site yet, but it’s already a strong favorite among the salad eaters in my family. Yes, I’m excluding the 6-year-old.
But for all I’ve learned and enjoyed sharing this past year, nothing means more than the friendship of the four women with whom I’ve shared this project. Many, many hours were spent together with respect, camaraderie and support bringing us all closer together as we try to present the best to our readership.
I never knew how much I needed something like BCP in my life before it came about, I always joke how I must be the most devoted follower! I do as we say, and I’ve never been let down. Like so many readers have commented, to me as well – the site is like a “friend in my pocket” only as part of the team I get to be real friends with these amazing people. I am in constant awe watching from behind the scenes of how beautiful ideas come to life. The eagerness of the team to share not only their time and resources, but also so much useful information on how everything is done – and to perfection – makes me so happy to be part of the evolution of this BCP community. I am so thankful to all our readers for the positivity and encouragement along the way – without you, I would be the only ones in the know (ha…kidding). Here are just a few of my favorite recipes and items I discovered at BCP:
- Red Cabbage Salad – This is my new favorite
- Sushi Salad – Brilliant
- Pita on the Grill – Check
- Romanian Eggplant Dip – Every Shabbos. It’s my “free vegetable” dip
- Really, Really Good Whole Wheat Challah – It’s really really good.
- Can I freeze Potato Kugel – Leah says yes!
- Pizza dough for 99 cents – I never heard of Aldi’s before this post, but I ran.
- Round boxes of tissues for the car in Target – Add to cart.
- Coffee Slushie – Perfect.
- On the Road Games – Life-saving.
- Shiffy’s davening post – Life-changing.
To our fellow BCP fans and readers…tell us what you’ve incorporated into your life as a result of one year of BCP!