Friday, January 25, 2013

Girl Scouts Teach Delicious Life Lessons

Photo by Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar

Memo From Mom

TO: Everyone who has a kid selling something for a fundraiser
RE: Cookies for sale! And wrapping paper and nuts and gift cards and…

I will be the first person to say that Girl Scout Cookie Delivery Day should be a national holiday. All work should cease so that Americans can sit peacefully and binge on Thin Mints, Samoas, Thin Mints and some more Thin Mints. No need to wear your fanciest clothes. Simply don your best elastic waistband pants and settle in for a day of pure cookie nirvana.

I do love Girl Scout Cookies, and am very willing to partake in this old-fashioned, door-to-door sales approach. When a young, eager Girl Scout knocks on my door accompanied by her mom or dad, I have to buy a box or nine of these overpriced artificially preserved delicacies. Even if I shopped with a coupon or two that morning to save a buck, when Girl Scout Cookie time rolls around, I don’t bat an eye at the obscene amount of money it costs for a box of approximately 12 cookies. How could I deny a child working hard and pounding the pavement for her beloved organization? I do it for the charity, I do it for the community and sense of pride for the girls and yes, I do it all for the cookie.

However, when order forms are taped to the lunchroom table at work soliciting my hard-earned money for little Joey’s wrapping paper sale or Janie’s chocolate sale and yes, even for Girl Scout Mary’s Tagalongs, it is quite easy to ignore the silent pleas coming from those faceless forms. This method of passive fundraising doesn’t teach our kids the value of hard work, communication, or graciousness. It simply says, “Look, my kid wants to win a cheap plastic flyer disc. We have no intention of bringing him or her around the neighborhood and teaching our child to say hello, explain the fundraiser to practice good verbal skills, engage in small talk with a neighbor and to say thank you face-to-face with our consumers. We want to get in, get out and get done.”

Let’s add Facebook begging to this, now. We are in the throes of Girl Scout Cookie selling season and I cannot log on to Facebook without being bombarded by people letting me and the world know that their child is selling Girl Scout Cookies. “Patty wants to win an Xbox! Please Buy!” I don’t care if Patty wants to save starving koalas in Australia. Tell Patty to visit or call me and tell me all about the Girl Scouts and how she makes ten cents for her $4.00 box then we’ll talk.

Let's not forget the tried and true best way of selling anything - including beachfront property in Arizona - the grandparents. If time doesn’t allow for neighborhood canvassing and you need to boost sales by a box or 20, hit Grandma up. That’s what we do.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm blogging for!

Check out my blog posts at's parenting blog - the link is  I post 1-2 times a week   in the same style as this blog.  Things might be a little slower around this site since I'm blogging over there and also writing articles for parenting magazines around the country.  But check back here often as I will be around.  I will also post links to my articles in the magazines here.  The articles are more serious giving information about different parenting topics.  So lots going on in the freelance world but I will not abandon my "baby" - this blog. :)

Resolution from a Real Housewife of New Jersey

Real Housewife Tamra Barney (Orange County) cleans up - at the bank each season.

The last New Year’s resolution I made was to walk the dog every day. This was obviously a genius resolution, being made on January 1 in New Jersey, to start walking the dog is sub-zero temperatures. I lasted for about 2 weeks then told Walt, our dog, that he needed to start taking some responsibility for his own health. He had to create and implement his own indoor exercise program because momma wasn’t going outside until she saw a flower poke through the bright green grass.

That was two years ago. Last week, I came up with a lofty New Year's resolution. I will not watch any of the Real Housewives shows. I am a die-hard Real Housewives viewer enjoying Real Housewives of Orange CountyReal Housewives of Beverly Hills,Real Housewives of New York, and of course, my beloved Real Housewives of New Jersey (I do, however, draw the line at Miami and Atlanta). After a day of work, being mommy, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, making appointments and other actual REAL LIFE housewife duties, I love to become one with my couch and let my brain cells get sucked from my head for an hour.

With a great love and appreciation of such bad, but such good, television, one might wonder what spurred this decision. While watching some pseudo news show about how much some of the housewives make per season, the thought of me contributing to Teresa Giudice's $600,000 per season salary made me want to flip a table. A few other “housewives” were mentioned with season salaries all over $250,000. I decided at that moment that I can no longer contribute to the downfall of America.

I have struggled for quite a while with the reality of these shows, anyway. A housewife, as defined by, is “a married woman who manages her own household, especially as her principal occupation.” Many of the women on the shows are divorced, and/or manage their homes with the help of nannies, personal assistants and other in-home help. They spend their days meeting friends for lunch and talking about other women. Oh, wait. That does sound like some housewives I know.

However, kudos to a few like Vicky from Orange County and Lisa from Beverly Hills as, even though they do not fit the definition, they do actually have careers. Some of the women aren’t just making money off of their so-called fame but have been businesswomen long before they were on the show. They have a brain that is simply masked by their store-bought boobs. A book deal, record deal, or talk-show gig as a result of being on these shows does not count as being talented, motivated or having any sort of intelligence.

I am sure that this resolution will be more of a hiatus than a lifestyle change as I know all too well that when Real Housewives of New Jersey comes back on in the spring, I am going to cave just like Jacqueline gives in to Teresa. My need to see the family drama between the Gorgas and the Giudices will override my current convictions about the evils of these reality shows.

But, hey, it is January 3 and I’ve already lasted longer with my resolution than 25% of Americans.

published on January 3, 2013