Find a Feeder

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hunger In Our Schools

I used to volunteer in my daughter's classroom. One little girl was always cranky, had a problem paying attention, and one morning I realized that noise I heard was her stomach growling! That was when hunger in the suburbs hit home. Not my home, but one down the street from me. In a relatively affluent suburb. A little girl went to school hungry. And as I learned more about the problem I found that she wasn't the only one.

Share Our Strength released its 2012 Annual Teacher's Survey it reported that "a majority of teachers say they have kids in their classes who regularly come to school hungry." How do we expect kids to pay attention, to learn to the best of their abilities when they are worrying about such basics as having enough food to eat? No child should have this worry. The impact hunger has on students is devastating, whether it's constant illness, behavior issues, or an inability to concentrate.

What can you do?
  • Contact your local lawmakers. Let them know fighting hunger in schools is a priority. Give them the details of why they should fund school breakfast programs.
  • Support school breakfasts in your school district. Supporting school breakfasts helps reduce the behavior problems in our classrooms (so all our children can learn better) and lets all students concentrate on learning, not how hungry they feel.
  • Help teachers spread the word about the program so there is no stigma attached to having breakfast at school. For parents sometimes one of the hardest things to do is ask for help.
  • Have your PTA/PTO support stop hunger initiatives.
  • Support a healthy snack program in your schools. Whether it is school provided or parent provided, encouraging healthy snacks encouraging a better learning environment.
  • Support your local food bank or church bread basket. Make it a family project to find healthy inexpensive items to donate to food banks. Use couponing to make this financially feasible for you.

Help Share Our Strength support funding of school breakfast programs by visiting to take the No Kid Hungry® pledge, take action and share the report.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Key To Breast Pump

Despite **laws passed allowing women to breastfeed at work and specific requirements about the areas that must be provided to allow them to do so, some companies are still fighting it. Hennessey's Tavern in Seal Beach CA is one of them.
Hennessey's Tavern (Seal Beach CA location) refused to allow one of their waitstaff to pump her breasts during her shift in their restaurant.
Kristen Joseph, a 28-year-old single mom, says she was denied her right to pump her breast milk while on the job. She has worked at Hennessey's Tavern in Seal Beach for three years. She had been using the manager's office when she took her break to pump her milk but had to ask for the key. Previously this had not been a problem, but this night it was. 
The manager is reported to have said 'no' to her request for the key to the office and to have commented that it (breast feeding) was "disgusting."
(Note: this is not a company wide policy, but a single restaurant in a chain acting independently.)
Management needs to wake up and join the 21st century. Breast feeding is one of the best things we can do for infant health, so what's the problem? Seems some of the world has missed the message.
So just in case you're an employer who is reading this...get with the program! Whether you like it or not it is THE LAW. I have a feeling Hennessy's is going to regret not giving her the opportunity to pump.
Kristen Joseph has still not heard from corporate (who is "conducting an investigation")--we hope they will come down hard and allow all their mothers who need a place to pump to do so without harassment from their managers, no matter what the manager's personal opinion.

Post on Hennessey's Seal Beach Facebook page to encourage corporate cooperation.

**Federal law requires any employer with 50 or more employees to provide an area -- other than a bathroom -- for women to pump breast milk. It also allows women to breastfeed their children anywhere, at any time, in any public place.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Atlantic City Air Show -- Family Fun In The Sun

This week our family had the opportunity to see the 2012 Atlantic City Air Show, Thunder Over The Boardwalk. For those of you who have never been to see it, it's a great free show that anyone can watch from the boardwalk or the beaches in Atlantic City.

Thunder Over The Boardwalk is the largest beachfront airshow on the East Coast. You see the planes as low as 50 feet over the water and as high as 15,000 feet. The demonstrations wow the spectators, especially the headliners the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Golden Knights.

All the armed services get together to show off the best of their best.

Caesar's Entertainment is the official host hotel sponsor this year and the Atlantic City Airport is the host airport.

How big is the airshow? Estimates are just below 900,000 people scattered from along the boardwalk, on the beaches, and even people out in their boats all watching this spectacular show.

Channel Six was just one of the local channels who were there covering the airshow. Their on air talent graciously taking photos and autographing them for fans.

Tips when you head to the airshow?

  • Get there early and stake out your spot. Take plenty of water or Gatorade or juice. It is always hot and it is a long day.

  • Lather on that sunscreen multiple times during the day. It's a long day and you'll be on the beach during prime burn hours.

  • If you have sensitive ears grab some ear plugs.

  • Pack some food that will stay fresh in the heat. No mayo on those sandwiches!

  • The air show is a fun day but it is a long one and traffic after the show can be bumper to bumper. Try to use jitneys ($2.25 takes you from one end of the boardwalk to the other, beats taking you car out!) You might have to wait to board one after the show but it beats sitting in your car in bumper to bumper traffic.

  • Make the most of the air show weekend. Book a hotel well in advance so you can relax and enjoy! No race to get back on the Expressway and head home afterwards.

So have fun! Plan your trip for next year early. This is one of those things that can easily become a family tradition. It's like nothing you've ever seen (or heard!) Atlantic City isn't just for grown ups any more!

Tips on Tipping

Have you ever wondered just how much you should be tipping at a restaurant? Did you know tipping varies depending on where you are in the world? So what is standard in the United States might not be standard when you head to Europe or south of the border on vacation.

First, standard United States tips:

Restaurant Tipping United States:

1. Waitstaff: 15% if adequate, 20% for very good service, no less than 10% on poor service.
2. Sommelier or Wine Steward: 15% of the cost of the bottle.
3. Bartender: 15-20% of the tab, minimum of 50 cents per soft drink, $1 per alcoholic drink.
4. Coatroom attendant: $1 per coat.
5. Parking valet or garage attendant: $2.
6. Staff at coffee shops or food retailers with jar: tipping optional.
Restaurant Tipping Other Countries:

Canada: Tipping in Canada is similar to the United States.

Mexico: 10-15% is customary in Mexico. Dollars are accepted, cash is preferred.

United Kingdom: Service fee usually tacked on, often referred to as an "optional charge." If not applied then tip should be 10-15%. Tipping in pubs is not expected.

France: Locals usually tip an additional 10% on top of the service charge on the check in restaurants. For some reason visitors are not expected to tip unless the service is excellent.

Germany: Adding a tip onto a bill is customary. Dollars accepted, euros preferred.

Italy: 10% tipping is customary. Oddly enough tipping gondoliers is not customary. (go figure!)

Switzerland: Most places include a 15% service charge; leaving a small additional tip is customary in fancier restaurants. It all depends on the service. When in doubt, ask someone local.

Australia: 10-15% is customary. While this custom was not common practice 25 years ago, it has since gained popularity. Tip is for good service.

While this doesn't cover every country you might be traveling in, it's always a good idea to check what the customary tipping is when you travel.  Conde Nast and Emily Post are good resources for other countries' tipping customs.

Sources: Conde Nast/Emily Post

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Movie Review: The Odd Life Of Timothy Green

A few nights ago our family had the opportunity to preview The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a new Disney film. Odd Life has the magic of ET without the spaceship. This film is enjoyable on so many levels, adults, children and teens alike will all enjoy it.

Disney Preview on YouTube The Odd Life of Timothy Green

The film is the story of a childless couple, Cindy and Jim Green (Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton)who find they cannot have a child of their own. So they create their dream child with all the characteristics they'd hoped their child would have. And to their surprise, after a storm one night, a young man shows up on their doorstep but he is just a little...different. Their young 'son,' Timothy Green (CJ Adams) is magical in many ways. Timothy has the gift of changing everyone around him for the better. Watch as Timothy and the small town he lives in, Stanleyville, learn that the unexpected and different can bring the greatest joys in life.

The film was directed by Academy Award®–nominated director/writer Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?)  Hodges once again touches hearts with his ingenious direction of an unusual story.

Check and see where it's playing near you and take your whole family. There aren't too many films these days that you can take the whole family from Grandma and Grandpa to the kids to see and everyone will enjoy it. So make it a family occasion and head to the movies this weekend for a fun filled afternoon or evening watching The Odd Life Of Timothy Green.

Disclosure: Free tickets were provided for this preview. No other compensation was provided. Disney or their agents did not suggest or edit any opinions posted above. All opinions are my own.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Look For My Movie Review Wednesday

Coming soon to a theater near you: Disney's The Odd Life of Timothy Green!

Look for my movie review on Wednesday, August 15th on the new film by Disney, The Odd Life Of Timothy Green. We saw a special preview in King of Prussia tonight. I can't give away any details until then but be sure to check back later this week.

Just a heads up, if you are going to a 7:30 show, don't forget to factor in rush hour traffic! Live and learn!

***I received 2 free movie tickets that were not contingent on my writing a review, but I am disclosing this because I want the reader to be aware of the value of the product received. It did not effect blog posts and the blog posts reflect my personal opinion of the movie. It has not been edited by Disney or their agents.

Disney Dames Who Rock Attitudes & One Angry Bird

Disney heroines are often criticized for being less than 'with it.' Old fashioned, anti-feminist, and other uncomplimentary comments are frequently hurled at them.

But then again, the above take on them makes you think again--maybe it's time we rethink these colorful beauties and give them their due! Maybe girls who wear glasses are what the movie going public needs to see!

So, do you think Disney will go back and re-work all their movies to give their girls an updated attitude?

Which Dis beauty aggravates you the most? What would you do to the movie to bring it into the 21st century?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paging Dead Squirrels!

Have you ever wondered why you don't see squirrels who have died from natural causes in your neighborhood? I mean sure, I saw one last year that the beer delivery truck for the neighbors ran over but that doesn't count--that was a hit and run. I mean I've never seen one that just died from old age or starvation etc. You just don't see Granny Squirrel with her walker lying on your sidewalk dead. (Thank you!)
One squirrel web site said that most squirrels don't just drop dead (like a human w/a heart attack). Instead these furry wonders retreat to their nests or choose to die in a protected spot of their choice (likely surrounded by nuts (no I don't mean my neighbors!)

After death, their uh...carcasses (for lack of a better word) are eaten by crows or ravens, or even your dog or cat. YUCK! OH DOUBLE YUCK! Please say it ain't so! My beloved dog eats dead squirrels! UGH! That's the last time I brush his teeth!

Another theory suggested by an 'expert' is that "squirrel Valkyries carry them off to squirrel Valhalla, which resembles a large bird feeder."

"It's also been postulated that chitterboxes don't die. They retire to an enormous tree that's suspended in space on the far side of sun. There they listen to ABBA, feast on delicious nuts, and watch Walt Disney's Old Yeller over and over (and they always cheer when that poor dog gets put down for having rabies)."

I'm not sure what the real answer is, but if any of you are squirrel-a-holics and have a creative answer (I am so hoping they are NOT listening to ABBA!) post it below. I love to be entertained. So do the rest of my readers!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Don't Lose Your Nuts -- Or Other Important Papers and Information

Just a heads up to my readers, on my blog Independence Day--Transition Planning I have an article about AboutOne, a great organizational tool for anyone! Easy enough for my intellectually disabled daughter to use but great for me as well.

Graphic from

AboutOne lets you track EVERYTHING! (Well, except your kids!) But if it's paper or information they keep it in one easy and secure place.

Graphic from

Unlike some squirrels who lose their nuts, you won't lose your information and its super secure! So head on over to read it here.

***Disclosure Statement: AboutOne has partnered with bloggers like me to educate consumers about their services. As part of this, I have received compensation for writing the post this post is linked to. They did not tell me what to say or influence opinions in my blog post. They left me free to form my own opinion and share them in my own words. These policies meet FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fast and Healthy Back To School Breakfast

School is starting soon and it's time to try and figure out fast, fun and nutritous breakfasts for our kids. (Oh and did I forget to add, that kids will eat?) I found this on Pinterest (I admit, it's my newest addiction) Low cal (for me) but nutritious for the kids! Best of all, fast and easy to assemble and THEY EAT IT! It's great for snacks or a quick lunch too.

Visit Flatout Bread's website and find all the other great recipes they have for you. I love it when I discover a new product I love! Granted my kids are adults now, but for anyone who is hustling out of the house in the morning this is a great treat.

Recipe by Flatout Bread

PB&J with SB&G Flatout Wrap
Posted in On-The-Go Lunch
1 Flatout® Light Flatbread
1 Tbs reduced fat peanut butter
1 Tbs sugar-free jam
2 strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 banana, cut in half lengthwise
2 Tbs low fat granola

Spread peanut butter evenly over entire Flatout. On one rounded end, spread jam. Layer strawberry, banana and granola. Roll, cut and enjoy!

263 Calories ● 14g Protein ● 50g Carbs ● 12g Fiber ● 8g Fat

Walk Like A Woman!

Presidential elections are coming up, and with each election come the debates. Depending on your level of interest, you either watch these or find a movie on cable to watch. The debates are stirring up controversy even before they start this year--the 'noise' is being made by three high school girls from New Jersey. It all started with a project for their civics class.

Emma Axelrod, Sammi Siegel and Elena Tsemberis, three high school sophomores have launched a petition on, calling for the Commission on Presidential Debates to have a female moderator for at least one of the three 2012 presidential debates between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney in October.

Carole Simpson of ABC News, was the last woman to moderate a presidential debate.  Simpson  served as the moderator of a 1992 debate between Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot.

PBS' Gwen Ifill moderated two vice presidential debates ( 2004's Dick Cheney-John Edwards and 2008's Joe Biden-Sarah Palin), but the rest have been moderated by men.

Axelrod was quoted in a press release as saying: "The fact that there hasn't been a female moderator of one of the debates in so long is just another sign that America is a long way away from being as equal as it thinks it is."

The young women started the petition as part of a project for their civics class. However when the girls tried to deliver the nearly 100,000 signatures to the Commission on Presidential Debates they were not allowed into the building and were blocked by security guards. (I guess those signatures must have been a real threat to the CPD?)

The web page the girls put up on has six suggestions for possible moderators but the girls say they are not limiting the options of the Commission on Presidential Debates, they would be happy with any intelligent woman well versed in politics and the election. Their suggestions included: Ifill, ABC News' Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, CNN's Christiane Amanpour and CBS News' Lesley Stahl.

It should be noted that of the commission members, only two are women. They call that equal?  Below you can see the letter the students wrote to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Dear Presidential Debate Committee,

A lot has happened in the United States since 1992--the last time a woman moderated presidential debates: the crashing of the World Trade Center, the election of our first African American president, and an increasing involvement of women in politics. Or so it would seem. Yet, according to the Center for American Women and Politics, women hold only 17% of the seats in Senate and 16.8% of the seats in the House of Representatives. In the past twenty years, they have made up 0% of moderators of the Presidential debates.

Women and men will never be truly equal in our country until they're one and the same in positions of power and both visible in politics. We need to take immediate action in order to move towards this change. It is time for a woman to have a chance to show what she's capable of by moderating debates in the upcoming election.

Please, in one of the three upcoming presidential debates, appoint a woman moderator.

This is one civics project that is rocking the political boat!

The question is have we 'come a long way baby?' or are we going back to where we were when the women's movement started? Are young women today not as involved in women's rights because they have reaped the benefits their mothers and grandmothers fought so hard for so they don't appreciate them?

If you want to have a moderator who will represent what is important to all Americans, it's time to ensure that one of the moderators is a woman, who has a woman's point of view and who knows what issues women care about. Not the issues men THINK we should care about because it's what is important to them.

So make your voice heard! Sign the petition. Write to your representatives and senators about the Commission on Presidential Debates denying these young women access to drop off petitions signed by the American people about an issue that directly effects them. Maybe it is time someone else organized the Presidential debates.

I want to say we've come a long way baby, but I think we're still just taking baby steps. It's time to get up and WALK like a WOMAN!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Saying It With A Blog: A Series on Blogging and Writing

I've been thinking about the creative aspects of blogging lately. And thinking about what I can do to make my blogs more valuable to my readers. What follows is the beginning of my exploration on art, writing, and blogs. Because more and more people these days are 'Saying It With A Blog.'

Blogging is many things to many people. Companies view blogging as another form of advertising--a way to make advertising dollars go further, increase brand recognition and to attract a customer they may have been missing using other techniques. Bloggers view their craft differently. In truth, to most of us, blogging is really a 'short story' about a specific topic. Blogs are used to communicate our thoughts and feelings as well as our expertise to others. What bloggers do best is SHARE.

What do bloggers blog about? If people are talking about it, you'll find a group of bloggers writing about it. Some of us act as a 'editorial page' for the local news. Some of us provide information about a specific industry. Some of us blog about our own special interests, from crafting to education to our children. And yes, some bloggers even blog about the blogging process. There is a blogger for every interest, and if you can't find one, start one yourself.

If you don't know anything about the craft of writing, no one is better able to help the nascent blogger than NY Times best selling author Stephen King. King has sold over 350 million copies of his works so someone is reading what he writes, that's good enough for me! I can hear the wheels turning--Carrie? Cujo? Christine? Yes, that Stephen King.

But King also wrote a book called On Writing. This gem of a book has the story of King's rise to his current position as a NY Times Best Selling author. In it he tells the reader exactly what he thinks makes a good writer.

This is a book (like so many of King's) that has earned a place on bookshelves everywhere. The man knows his CRAFT! In his book King says "I've written because it fulfilled me. Maybe it paid off the mortgage on the house and got the kids through college, but those things were on the side--I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever."

Joy! Buzz! This is so much how I feel about blogging. It's why I get up excited every morning about blogging. I don't need caffeine, my buzz comes from writing. Like many professionals, bloggers have conferences. One of the biggest was this weekend in NYC, BlogHer. No, I didn't go to BlogHer--too crowded, too expensive, not enough time. Instead I went to PhillyHomeHer12.

PhillyHomeHer12 was coordinated by the book maven and social media whiz, Pam Brown Margolis. Pam is also the author of her own blog called The Unconventional Librarian. This mini conference was held at Towne Book Center in Collegeville PA where you can find Pam most days helping patrons with all things literary (and some not so!) The bookstore was nice enough to host us as well as provide information on their store and cafe and some exciting upcoming events for adults and children. Towne Book Center could easily become a home away from home! Check their web site and see who is coming to Towne soon. Later Pam arranged for us to enjoy dinner at Firebirds Restaurant. Good food and good talk = great conference!

PhillyHomeHer12 was a small group of women bloggers that all shared one thing--PASSION. Passion for their craft. Their blogs weren't 'work' they were labors of love. A way to share thoughts and enrich their own lives as well.

Like King, they didn't write for fame, they didn't really care if anyone ever tapped them for the top spot speaking at one of the huge blogging conferences, they cared about the connection with their readers.

King said "Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life as well."

I heard these bloggers say the same thing King said, maybe they used slightly different words but like King, they valued that connection with their readers. They valued helping even just one reader over all the fame and fortune.

This was the true value of this conference. Meeting with women who took joy in enriching the lives of others. Women there were happy to share their expertise with the newer bloggers. Happy to include them in their group and make them successful.

So the Tip For Today is:

Blog for the joy of it. For the connection with just one person. It will enrich your life as well. You'll find writing with this attitude makes you a better blogger, true to her own voice. So go out, write joyfully. Write for the jazz! And have a better blog!

And while you are waiting for my next installment in this series, order King's book from Towne Book Center--and support your local independent bookstore! And be sure to stop in and see Pam and the rest of the group at Towne Book Center where they sell more than just books! (Hint: Start Your Christmas Shopping early at Towne!)

"Eat Your Peas!" And Other Struggles Solved

YouTube/DailyGrommet/Constructive Eating

So you have a picky eater? Trying to get him or her to eat those veggies (especially those peas or that tricky rice?) Why not try this great product from Constructive Eating. I admit, I found their product on Daily Grommet, one of my favorite sites for fun 'stuff.' Not always things I need, but often very clever solutions to problems that have been plaguing me! Or in this case possibly you.

I don't think I know a single parent who hasn't fought the battle of getting their child to 'eat their veggies' or 'clean their plate.' Or to hold their utencils properly. Constructive Eating has utencils that look like a bulldozer or other construction vehicles like fork lifts etc. Just watch the video and see how these are designed to introduce children to proper eating and making it a fun experience. They also have a placemat that helps children learn the proper placement for utencils so they can help you set the table--a child is never to young to learn as long as you keep it fun!

Watch the video to see how these great products were developed by two parents, who just like you and me have fought the fight and found a better way to get their son invested in eating.

These products are cute and fun for kids who use them and for adults who can now say "THANK YOU Constructive Eating! Mealtimes are no longer a battle. Dinner is now a tranquil experience! (Or as close to it as it ever will be until the kids move out!)

Details of these products:

  • CPSIA Compliant
  • NO Lead, NO Bisplenol A (BPA), NO PVC, and NO Phthalates


  • Microwave and Dishwasher safe. Do not boil or steam sterilize.
  • Made in Michigan.
  • Dimensions: 9” in diameter.


  • Includes forklift fork, front loader spoon and bulldozer pusher.
  • Utensils are made in Illinois.
  • Dimensions: 1” wide and between 4-6” long.


  • Made of Polypropylene and features a construction "worksite."
  • Durable and easy to wipe clean.
  • Made in China until 2013 when they will be produced in USA.
  • Dimensions: 11" x 17".

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How The Olympics Shape Our Lives

Proctor and Gamble/YouTube/Shawn Johnson "Thank You Mom" Campaign

As I watched the American women take gold last night I thought back to the Olympics when Shawn Johnson blew us all away with her performance. She wasn't feeling at the top of her game but she still went out there and wowed us all. I don't think there was a single person watching that performance that didn't come away admiring that young lady's GRIT. We could all use a little of that grit in our everyday lives.

Yes, the Olympics reflect our lives.  How we live and what we do.  How we balance work and play. How hard we work to accomplish our goals. And how we relax.

It's balance. It's all about balance. Not just at the Olympics but in life. Shawn Johnson's mom, Teri, gave all of us a great role model. It was not just Shawn who was a terrific role model, but her mom. I hope if I'd been in her place I'd have been as great a mom and as good an example for my daughter. I hope I manage to balance my life as well.

Olympic Gymnastics. The sport we love to watch because it's pure magic. But the real magic? Balancing your life--having a real life and your 'other life.' And having parents who understand and support you--gold, pure gold.

So I say it's time for 'gold medals' for some Olympic parents--starting with Teri Johnson. And it's time to make the effort as parents to be 'gold medal parents' to our children. Thanks to Shawn Johnson, Teri Johnson and Proctor and Gamble for the inspiration.

And the next time you are standing on the sidelines, yelling at a referee, channel Teri Johnson instead.