What’s Your Wish?

unnamed-7.jpgMy wife Beth and I have been together now for almost 23 years. While the two of us have definitely enjoyed imbibing on more than one occasion, neither one of us has ever really been a binge drinker. The only time I remember differently was our first Halloween night together. Beth threw a party in New York City and I met many of her friends for the first time, even though it was in costume. I first had to pick up Beth at her parent’s house in Brooklyn. Fortunately, I had already met Beth’s parents once, but then again, it was only once. Even though I loved getting dressed up for Halloween as a kid, many years passed since I last wore a costume. I really struggled with ideas of what to wear for Beth’s special party night. To this day, I’m still not sure why I took advice from one of my best friends from high school as to what would be a great costume. Somehow she convinced me that I should get dressed up as a woman. The momentary lapse in judgement and independent thinking by me led to a night of unending torture for my future wife. Not only did my in-laws see me wearing a dress, a long wig and a face full of make up, but I was also introduced to many of Beth’s closest friends as a woman. From the moment I showed up at her door until the second she was sprawled across the bed in a drunken stupor, Beth just kept asking “why?” It went from a coherent and dismayed “why?” to a mumbling and tear ridden “why?” I don’t know quite how many drinks Beth ended up consuming that night, but it’s safe to say that is was well beyond what she was capable of handling. Fortunately, my poor judgement didn’t cost me my future with my wife. Thankfully, she ended up being a good sport about the whole evening, realizing that dressing as a woman was not going to be a way of life for me.
Maybe that whole night could have gone a lot more smoothly if I didn’t struggle so much with a costume selection. Had the same thing happened today, I would have just gone online to a company like 3wishes.com that offers plenty of choices for men’s costumes. It would have saved my wife the agony and embarrassment she endured that Halloween evening. Now who is to say that one of the costumes I could choose from now wouldn’t have been an embarrassment for my wife? It would probably be wise for me to stay away from a few of the selections like “Pimpin in Style”and “Buck Wild” outfits and stick with some more of the conservative choices like the “Big Bad Wolf,” “Gangster Guy” or “Robber” costumes. The online site offers a very wide selection of costumes to choose from and they can be delivered to your house within days.
Now if you are a parent and are thinking about checking out the site for your next costume party, be careful about not having children around when you are browsing. In addition to offering adult costumes, clothing, jewelry and many different accessories, 3wishes.com specializes in relationship enhancement garb and products that are best left unseen by kids. That doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about viewing the site. Navigating through the site is very easy and the content is tastefully organized. While human sexuality is not a topic often covered by Role Mommy, we are not blind to the fact that many people out there look for ways to spice it up a bit with their partner. Who those people are and descriptions of what they do to improve their relationships doesn’t need to be addressed here. But if you and your partner are seeking a relationship spark, then 3wishes.com could be a great site for you. And if you are concerned about what may show up a your front door, the company has a discreet worldwide shipping policy along with hassle free returns.
It will be difficult to go through the site and not laugh just a bit or even a lot. I’m sure you will find yourself saying, “never in a million years” a few times as well. And that is what makes the site uniquely appealing. They have a wide selection of everything and for everyone. From the guy like me who could have just used a good Halloween costume one night to the woman looking to get dressed up as a French Maid for her husband on their anniversary, 3wishes.com has something for everyone.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by 3wishes.com. However, my incredibly embarrassing costume story and my review of the site’s offerings are entirely my own.

A Letter to My Dad on Father’s Day

Dear Dad,
2loB0O1pIQN9ieovpkPWs5CUBrMYeamC5XotVKH1oxo,KUqHVUDintg3vopLPlTTd43cyTfiEkn6sA-WYJ3PXm0,OkL-uelFihkqsFhd7MUQZ5yxvzDkVImAuCNA3_dP8ek.jpgI know I don’t really say it that often, but figured with Father’s Day right around the corner, I wanted you to know how much you mean to me. From as early as I could remember, you have always been the driving force in my life who has inspired me to do what I love, perform in front of hundreds of people, push myself to the limits and never give up. I live my life by following your lead and throughout your life, you have always managed to do the things that make you happy. Whether it’s performing in a show, tap dancing, playing tennis or doing the hustle with mom, you have lived a life anyone can truly be proud of.
You’ve also been one of my biggest supporters — whether it was cheering or letting out audible sighs in the stands during a tennis match, attending all my singing performances and shows and being that voice of reason in my life who has told me not to take crap from anyone and truly share what’s on my mind. I know I’m more like mom in that I keep things bottled up until I spontaneously burst, but I do want you to know that as I’m getting older, I am getting more bold about sharing what I truly feel and it actually feels good when I give people a piece of my mind.
On the career and community front you have always been a pioneer and a leader. I still remember how you played an instrumental role in being one of the original educators to become involved in the Special Olympics back in the 1970’s. At work, you were always known as a tough cookie, but for your close friends and co-workers, you were a total mush. And at home, you managed to always land the job as President of the Neighborhood Association. Everyone in the community could always count on you. So much so, that they even have confused you with being the “Super” – calling you when the plumbing went, a window needed fixing or if they had lighting issues!
Dad, you and I have shared some incredible memories – especially when I took you to Nashville for the CMA Awards and you helped me out on the red carpet – handing bottled water to Brad Paisley and all the other country stars and even wrote a song called the Jewish Cowboy.
And speaking of your poems — they are truly legendary. I’ll never forget the poem you wrote for me on my wedding day — I have that one framed in my bedroom and am grateful that I inherited your knack for finding ways to tell a story or re-write a lyric with a clever rhyme.
Let’s not forget your fabulous gift for storytelling. You even started to write a few children’s books when the kids were little and we surprised you on a special birthday by publishing Grandpa Fix-It. Sure it may not have been a bestseller, but among the Feldman and Stollers, it’s a family favorite.
I also know that you tend to have a short fuse when things don’t go your way and honestly, that has led to some of the most memorable and comical moments in my life. Like the time you used to start our humongous Plmouth Fury with the words “Son of a Bitch.” Or the day Eric and I got caught shoplifting fishing equipment at Jamesway in Port Jervis and you smoked about three packs of cigarettes in an hour. Okay, maybe that’s a memory that should be left in the fishing pole section. But I digress.
There’s also another amazing trait that you have that was once embarrassing for me that I now use along with my husband Darin when we are unhappy with the way we are treated. I remember cringing whenever you’d complain about the service or food in a restaurant only to be amazed when the waiter or waitress gave us a free item or lowered our bill. But the best time was when we went to Italy on Perillo tours and after a friend told you to use his name because he had had an awful experience on the tour, you made sure to call Mario Perillo and explain you were concerned and he told you not to worry, they’d take good care of us. When we arrived at the airport the day of our trip, you told the woman at the check in counter, “You must be expecting us. We’re the Stollers,” and to our surprise, she said yes and upgraded us to first class!
IMG_3104.JPGDad, you know exactly how to live life. On your terms, telling people exactly what’s on your mind, all while doing what you love. You’ve been performing since you were a toddler and still do it to this day. You are 75 years old and still can run me ragged on the tennis court. You can still save us a bundle at a restaurant if a waiter trips up or the food doesn’t live up to your expectations, and you have always been in my corner throughout my childhood, my career and my life as a wife and mother.
I love you very much and want you to know that you are an amazing dad who has instilled a sense of creativity and curiosity that I plan to take with me throughout my life. For that I am grateful and wish you the very best Father’s Day.
Love always,

Is Your Kid Telephone Challenged?

teens and mobile phonesHow many arguments did you get into with your parents growing up about not monopolizing the house phone? Call waiting was the greatest invention as far as my mom was concerned. I could no longer be oblivious to the fact that someone else might be trying to contact her while I was yapping to friends about nonsense. Parents and kids just don’t have those fights anymore. The busy signal has become virtually obsolete and since anyone and everyone has their own mobile phone, there is no need to quibble about whose call is more important. And while technology has eliminated that problem, it has created one far more severe. Those smartphones are creating a generation of socially awkward misfits that only know how to express themselves with their thumbs and not their mouths. I am shocked and somewhat dismayed by the inability of most teenagers to talk on the phone. I don’t want to pat myself on the back too much, but I have actually been able to get my daughter to talk to her friends on the phone and even call potential employers for summer job opportunities. I’m still working on it with my son, but it is definitely moving in the right direction.
Emails and texts undoubtedly have a very useful and important place in social circles. But like with everything else in life, the pendulum has swung way too far. Our kids are hiding behind texts and social media tools to express themselves instead of intellectually and emotionally challenging each other through verbal communication. We all know tone and intent is lost in texts and emails. Of course one can add the annoyingly silly emoticons to help convey sentiment in the written messages, but is that what our next generation has been reduced to? I have grown tired of seeing teenagers take cover behind their phone screens. It has become way too easy to shoot your mouth off without ever saying a word. Verbally spewing hurt and stupidity is a lot more difficult to do than to write it. And the bigger problem for kids long term, is that they never develop the appropriate filters of what to say, how to say it and who to say it to. They have become accustomed to having a blank writing canvas to communicate whatever is on their minds.
I cringe when I hear about boys asking girls out on dates via text. It’s pretty safe to say the break ups usually occur that way as well. Information gathering, whether it’s for school or social events, always seems to be via text. My daughter has gotten so much better about calling her friends to relay important information and details to me about social and educational activities. In the past, the conversation with my daughter went like this; “did you find out the info for ….” and she would say “yeah”. I would ask, “what did she say?” My daughter’s response was, “oh she texted me”. I said, “uh uh, call her up and find out everything that you know I want to know.” Now we no longer argue about it, she just does it. I’m not naive enough to think that texting as the primary means of communication is just temporary and I certainly do it enough myself. But we need to make sure that our kids are equipped with the ability to talk on the phone when the situations call for it. I’m afraid most teens just aren’t and just sound like bumbling buffoons when forced to do it. So what can you do to help prepare them?
1) As a parent, refuse to communicate with your own child via text. If they need to tell you something or vice versa, force them to talk to you on the phone.
2) Have your child call a relative, grandparent for distant friend at least once per week.
3) Next time your child wants to be taken to a store for something special, make him or her call the place first to find out the hours they are open and if they have the desired item in stock.
4) If going out for a family dinner and need a reservation, have your kid call the restaurant to make it. And no, do not allow them to go on Open Table.
5) Do not allow your kids to text while they are driving as passengers in the car with you. Tell them they are allowed to communicate with their friends, but only by phone.
6) Next time a telemarketer calls your house, force your kid to answer it and talk to the person on the other line. Tell your kid that you are too busy to take the call but that you are actually interested in what the telemarketer might be offering.
7) Encourage the use of FaceTime, Skype and other forms of communication that actually require talking to and seeing the person live.
8) Have your child call someone he or she knows when the time is appropriate, to either offer congratulations for a happy occasion, or extend their condolences or sympathies for something sad or unfortunate.
9) Have your child call someone for directions. “Can’t you just use GPS? ” will most certainly come right back at you. Be strong and insist that it doesn’t work.
10) And finally, I can’t believe I would suggest this. I will deny it if anyone ever asks me if I actually recommended it. Give your kid the okay to make a prank phone call once in a while. The call should be harmless and in good fun where the only thing that was lost was a person’s time. But the prank can’t be a ring and hang up. It has to be well thought out dialogue that wants the person on the other side of the line to feel compelled to stay on the line. By the way, you probably will do just fine with the first 9 tips suggested, but since top ten lists are so big, we threw this one in here.
If you have some tricks of your own to get your kid on the phone instead of texting, by all means, do whatever it takes. We as a society need to get the gift of gab back and the only way that will ever be done is with practice.

Don’t let too many phone calls Flyp you out

1-hero-shot-a.pngLike for many people, my life used to be pretty compartmentalized. There was work time, family time, errand time and recreation time. Hours of the day and days of the week used to be clearly defined as to who I was and what I was doing at a given time. For better or for worse, and probably worse, technology has changed all of that. The fact that we don’t need to be chained to a desk to wait for work related phone calls gives us the flexibility of getting home earlier to our families, being at events or places that we might not otherwise be able to attend and doing more personal stuff like for me, playing basketball on a Friday morning at 7:30 am. Ah, the sweet joy and liberty of owning a mobile phone. I’m now reachable by anyone and everyone at any time of day. Wait a second. I never wanted that!
It’s amazing how many people​ who would have never thought of calling me at home on my land line past 9:00 pm don’t even think twice about dialing me up on my cell. I’m guilty of doing it myself. That barrier of privacy we once had before cell phones has been broken. When you called someone’s house phone or place of business, there was unwritten protocol of appropriate times to make contact. Cell phones have blurred the lines between the different parts of our lives making work sometimes not always feel like work and making family or personal time not always feel so personal. And while I don’t feel the need to return to the days of a regimented schedule to tell me when it’s time for work and when it’s time for play, it would certainly be great to get a little of that life compartmentalization back. I recently discovered ​an ​app for my mobile phone called Flyp that helps with that endeavor.
The free app from Flyp (for the first phone number you assign), allows me to create a phone number that isn’t attached to my identity. I can give the number to people​ who I may not know well or at stores that routinely use a mobile phone number as a substitute for a discount savings card. The number of telemarketing calls I get ​on ​my cell phone seems to have grown exponentially over the last couple of years and I can only believe that it is a result of the number of stores to which I blindly relinquished my cell phone number. With Flyp, I may still get telemarketing calls, but it will least be on a number that I can easily screen and not have identification safety issues that I need to be concerned about.
As if me and my wife, along with most other parents out there didn’t have enough things in life to worry about already, we now also need to be concerned about the safety of our children having cell phones and potentially giving out their personal number to the wrong person. Whether parents know it or not​, ​​​kids often post their phone numbers on social media which can lead to disastrous outcomes. Flyp allows you to create a “safe number” in case your children ever need to give out their number.
The feature for me on Flyp that I like best is the ability to separate my personal life from other types of phone calls. I can mute the specific Flyp number I don’t want to receive phone calls from and keep my primary cell phone number still active and audible to get calls that I do want. By the way, in no way is this a suggestion that Flyp users might want to give that second phone number to a family member that you just wish wasn’t one.
Currently, I just have one Flyp number for myself, but users can have multiple numbers on one smartphone, with their own title, ringtone and voicemail so you can easily recognize which part of your life is calling without even having to look. After the first phone number, it costs just $2.99 per month for each additional phone number. There are different plans to choose from, each with varying limitations on the number of inbound and outbound minutes of phone usage during the month.
So if you are one of those people ​who​ is quick to answer your cellphone any time it rings and then often regret it after you did, the Flyp app could be a really good tool for you to help manage those situations a little better. You no longer need to flip out with the unwanted calls when you enlist the help of Flyp.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Flyp but the opinions expressed in the article are 100% my own.

18 Year Old Pens Chizi’s Tale, An Inspiring Children’s Book that Gives Back

I recently read an article in the New York Times about the generation that’s striving to make a difference in our world. They’re called Generation Z and I recently met an extraordinary teen who embodies the Generation Z spirit — Jack Jones, an 18 year old
high school senior and student athlete who has travelled to Africa every summer where he has learned the importance of preserving and protecting nature. The youngest of four children, Jack has just published a inspiring new children’s book from Peek-a-boo Publishing that helps raise awareness and educate children and their parents about the importance of saving Black Rhinos.
Jack recently appeared at a fun filled family event held at the beautiful Carlton Hotel in New York City to celebrate the launch of Chizi’s Tale. Based in Zimbabwe, Chizi’s Tale is the true story of a day-old black rhino that was separated from its mother. Upon discovery by two park rangers, the park manager is informed immediately and ultimately takes the rhino home to his family. The family adopts the infant animal and names him Chisiwana, which means ‘Orphaned One’ in the native language. Nicknamed ‘Chizi,’ the book chronicles his first year at his new home, where he is treated like a beloved family pet.
“My mission with Chizi’s Tale is to bring attention to the endangered black rhino and encourage all of us to help save our world’s vanishing species.” said Jack. “With the sale of the book, 100 percent of the author proceeds are going to Tusk.org, a group dedicated to supporting wildlife, communities, and education in Africa.”
Today, black rhinos remain critically endangered due to the rising demand for rhino horn, which has brought poaching to record levels. Native to eastern and central Africa which includes the countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola, there are approximately only 4,800 remaining in the wild.
Through the kindness and perseverance of his adoptive family, Chizi is working to slowly be released back into the wild as it is vital towards helping his species survive. Both hardcopy ($7.99) and paperback ($3.99) versions of the book will be released simultaneously. Chizi’s story is appropriate for children ages 0 to 8, though he will touch the heart of all!
Jacqui Taylor lives in Zimbabwe. She wrote and illustrated A Hong Kong ABC, An African ABC, A Baobab is Big, and The Queen of Green. To learn more, please visit her website at .
Peek-A-Boo is an exciting new approach to children’s publishing, focused on producing works that tell enduring tales and celebrate diversity. We are proud to offer our innovative storytelling in both traditional print and–through a newly minted partnership with industry leader Brightline Interactive–digital interactive formats. Spearheading this new venture is veteran children’s author Don Hoffman, whose books have sold more than one million copies worldwide. As director of acquisitions, Hoffman is tasked with seeking out and recruiting the best and brightest authors in the field under the Peek-A-Boo banner. Our imprints include: Peek-A-Boo (children ages 0-4), See-Saw (young readers ages 4-8), and RainbowKidz (children up to age 10 who are part of, or affected by, the LBBTQ community; soon expanding to teens). Peek-A-Boo Publishing: Open your eyes and see what’s next. Learn more at: http://www.peekaboopublishing.com/
Tusk is an African wildlife conservation organization working in 18 countries in Africa. For over 25 years, Tusk has been funding Africa’s most effective and successful conservation initiatives. Tusk carefully selects conservation, education and community programs that will have a lasting impact on the people and wildlife of Africa. Endangered and threatened species are protected and more than a million people benefit from the greater security, infrastructure, healthcare, and economic opportunities that Tusk programs provide. HRH The Duke of Cambridge has been the Royal Patron of Tusk since 2005 and has been a powerful advocate for Tusk’s work to support conservation, education and community development across Africa ever since. Learn more at: http://www.tusk.org

Get Your Dog on a Healthy Eating Plan with FreshPet

freshpet.jpgIf my dog had her way, her only meals would be treats throughout the day and the chicken that my wife makes for the family. Getting her to eat regular dry dog food is a challenge and we continue to try different brands that will hopefully excite her as much as the occasional hot dog (maybe frankfurter is the more appropriate choice of words in this case) coming off the barbecue. I know why my dog loves many of the same foods that me and my family love to eat. Because they taste great. But when it comes to her own dry dog food, I really have no clue as to why she might like one or get easily bored with another. It’s pretty difficult to figure out unless you are eating it yourself, something most people rarely do. Sure I entertain my kids a little by occasionally putting a dog biscuit in my mouth just to see their reaction, but I seldom finish the whole thing. To date, we have still not found a dry food for our dog that she will eat on her own without a little enhancement. Different types of shredded cheese or grated parmesan usually does the trick to coax her into eating everything in the bowl and from time to time, it requires a bit more like pieces of leftover meat from family dinners. When it gets to that point, I know it’s time for a new brand of dog food. As long as we just have to add the cheese, we will continue to stick with the brand which is what we have done recently with Freshpet Fresh Baked.
Dry_02_P.pngThis recently launched brand was kindly sent to our home by the Freshpet team and our dog has been given the opportunity to have it as part of her morning and evening meals for the past couple of weeks. So far the results appear encouraging as she has been finishing mostly everything in the bowl. But again, we still need to add some cheese to get her to eat it. I do like the fact that company is very transparent about what is actually in the food itself with all of the ingredients right on the front of the bag. It is also reassuring to know that it is all natural and made with fresh ingredients, with no artificial or chemical preservatives.
Other appealing aspects of the product included the fact that it is 100% fresh chicken or turkey and that it is not processed at all. Interestingly, there are real fruits and veggies mixed in to the bag. I will admit that curiosity got the best of me when I saw that so I actually decided to try a little piece of the chicken and a mixed in sweet potato myself. While I am not not going to make it a dietary staple anytime soon, I will say that I could actually eat the dried fruits and veggies in there if I ever got into a real pinch. But for now, I think I will let my dog have it. FreshPet is currently sold at Target Stores and an 11 pound bag is approximately $30. Visit FreshPet.com to find out how you can get your pet on the road to a healthy eating routine.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. However, all opinions are 100% my own.

Why I Am Hopelessly Addicted to Younger

Watch_Younger_Cast_2.jpgIt started innocently enough. I caught a few promos of a new show called “Younger” featuring Sutton Foster and Debi Mazar and I was intrigued. A show about Liza, a 40 something divorcee and mom who was struggling to break back into the publishing world after a 15 year hiatus from the profession. Sounded totally plausible. But then, there was the twist. After being interviewed by what I’d like to call the dreaded nemesis of my fellow GenXers–a pair of dismissive and condescending Millennials–Liza was doomed. She was labeled irrelevant, old, a mom who should just give up finding a job and move back to the burbs. That is, until she went out drinking with her best friend Maggie and she innocently flirted with a 26 year old tattoo artist who actually thinks Liza is the same age as him.
As a fellow forty-something working mom who has always looked younger than her actual age, I silently did a cheer for Liza. When Maggie convinces her that she could in fact pass for a 26 year old, she helps Liza transform her looks overnight and within hours of sporting new highlights and a trendy wardrobe, Liza lands a job as the assistant to Diana, a ruthless 40 something marketing executive at a major publishing company. And that my friends, is the moment they had me hooked. Now I know, if you look at Liza, played by the incredibly talented Sutton Foster, she doesn’t really look 26, her eyes are a little puffy on the lids (the tell tale curse of our age group), but I don’t care. I also ignored the fact that she would have had to give HR her social security number and birthdate to get paid and nobody seems to be questioning that either. Honestly, it’s all kosher to me because the storyline and the cast are simply adorable, clever, ruthless and hilarious.
With Darren Star at the helm, “Younger” is a reinvigorated version of “Sex and the City” complete with hipsters, Millennials, GenXers and Baby Boomers. For me, the subject matter really hits home. Not that I’ve been lying about my age or anything, but because I frequently ride the elevators in my office building with 20 something girls with an air of superiority they seem to have inherited from their helicopter moms. The guys on the other hand are bearded and tattooed schleps who only make me want to blurt out, please take a bath, shave and change your clothes. But instead, I just go about my business, silently praying my son will never want grow a Paul Bunyon style beard and my daughter will avoid the tattoo and body piercing parlors at all costs. But I digress. Back to “Younger.”
It is simply refreshing to see Liza seamlessly transition from her twenty-something girlfriends, to her best friends and former suburbanite moms. Liza is reliving those lost decades she spent being a mom and rediscovering the things she loves like the publishing world and a really gorgeous boyfriend named Josh who is only eight years older than her daughter.
I am also loving Hillary Duff as Kelsey, a rising editor at the publishing company and her in the know and socially savvy girlfriend Lauren, who had me laughing out loud when she threw herself a “Hot Mitzvah.”
The bad news about “Younger” is the season is already over and it’s not coming back with original episodes until January! The good news is if you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you can find it online and on demand.

So what are you waiting for? Start binge watching and soak it all in. I’m sure if you’re like me, you will instantly fall for “Younger.” Kudos to Sutton Foster for giving 40 something moms like me the chance to escape into her world and imagine for a moment what it would be like to be 26 again. Youth is wasted on the young. It’s a good thing I still feel 26 on the inside. My eyelids on the other hand, tell a much different story…

The Inside Poop with Santana Feldman

10346464_10152488729725205_2245940093005943819_n.jpgIt has been a long journey for the southern bred pooch. Rescued from the mills of Tennessee and adopted by a loving family of four in Westchester NY, Santana Feldman, who now simply just goes by the name Santana, has become a widely popular figure throughout the parks of New Rochelle. The once down on her luck dog that unknowingly was adopted on a street corner of Manhattan has since taken her new chance for a great life and used it to help find ways to make other dogs in the community happy, physically fit and educated. The days are extremely busy for Santana, packed with car trip errands with her dad, long walks, playdates at the local schoolyard, workouts at the dog park, cozy naps on the living room love chair and of course, the occasional bath. Role Mommy was able to catch up with Santana for a few minutes during one of her short scheduled breaks to talk to her about what life has been like in the suburbs of New Rochelle, how she and the Feldman family have impacted each other and what she wants to educate her canine brethren about.
Role Mommy: So Santana, it looks like you have made a pretty good life for yourself since coming to New York. Was that because of your own will and determination or should we say you got lucky?
Santana: Well it’s probably a little bit of both. I’m definitely lucky to have been taken out of that hell hole down south and know that there are so many others that never get that chance. But I have taken advantage of that luck and am making sure that I do whatever it takes each and every day just to be happy.
Role Mommy: That’s great to hear Santana. But how do you make yourself happy?
Santana: That’s simple. By constantly being around the people that I know love me. Even when they may not quite be in the mood for my playful affection, I don’t give them the choice. They eventually get the point.
Role Mommy: I assume you are talking about the Feldman family.
Santana: Well of course. They are wonderful to me. I have a special relationship with each and every one of them. Darin, my father, is the one I usually hang out with the most, but my mommy Beth and my siblings, Rebecca and Dylan do so much to also love me and keep me entertained. But it’s not just the Feldman family, it’s anyone that comes to our house or anyone that I see during my busy schedule.
Role Mommy: Hmmm. That’s very interesting to hear you say that Santana. So you actually believe that you are a family member?
Santana: Not sure I understand the question. Just look around you. Everything in this house revolves around me. What else would I consider myself?
Role Mommy: Good point. Now let’s move on. Tell me a little about some of your favorite things to do.
Santana: Chase squirrels
Role Mommy: Besides that.
Santana: Chase birds.
Role Mommy: No Santana. I’m referring to the types of things that you like to do and your family actually let’s you do.
Santana: Oh okay. Sorry about that. Well I guess digging large holes wouldn’t be an appropriate answer. I guess I would have to say going to the Ward Acres dog park. That place is just awesome.
Role Mommy: Sounds cool. What do you like about it?
Santana: Where do I even start? I get to see all of my friends from the tiny Boston terriers to the huge Bernese mountain dogs. I can wrestle with any of them and the best of them, playfully of course. I get to run the length of a football field, sit under the shade when I want and catch a water break any time I need it.
Role Mommy: Doesn’t that exhaust you Santana?
Santana: You bet it does. But I love it. Run hard, play hard and then go home and sleep like a baby.
Role Mommy: Does it give you time to eat?
Santana: Of course it does. Why? Do you have a treat for me?
Role Mommy: No Santana, unfortunately I don’t. What I’m trying to ask is with everything you have going on when do you get a chance to have a meal?
Santana: I see. Sorry about that. When I wake up in the morning before the start of my day and at around 6:00 after a trip back from the dog park. By the way, do you have a treat now?
Role Mommy: Still no on that Santana. That’s great to hear that you have two full meals a day.
Santana: And don’t forget a lot of snacks in between along with a sock, a couple of pairs of sandals and all those toys Grandma Sally buys for me me that I like to rip to shreds.
Role Mommy: Thanks again Santana. I think we are actually running out of time. We are so happy to see you are doing well and that you have made a great and comfortable life for yourself. Any last words before we go?
Santana: I don’t think so. I just want to say thank you to Darin, Beth, Dylan and Rebecca for giving me a life that other dogs could only dream of having. And I’m sure they would want to thank me too knowing how much joy I have brought them.
Role Mommy: Thank you Santana.
Santana: Wait, one more thing! Go and rescue a dog. You will be happy that you did.

Natural Tips for Killing Weeds Around Your Home

Nothing hinders your “green” thumb more than a garden full of weeds. While most products on the market are full of harmful chemicals and toxins, you may be looking into more earth-friendly options to banish them from your botanical oasis.
Lay a Bed of Mulch
images.jpegVinegar, citrus, olive oil and herbs are all excellent DIY ingredients that can safely clean surfaces inside your home such as wood, tile and granite. However, when it comes to killing pesky weeds in a flower bed or vegetable garden, you probably reach for poisonous products that can sicken children and pets and harm the environment. If you’re looking to keep your gardens free from weeds this season, there are a number of natural ideas you can incorporate without messing with Mother Nature. After you’ve planted your seed packets, flowers or veggies into the ground, you can cover the soil with mulch. Layering the shredded bark two or three inches in depth will smother the weeds and help the soil retain its moisture. In addition to enjoying a chemical-free yard, you can also conserve moisture when you add mulch.
If you’re looking to use up your old newspaper or magazines, you can recycle the paper materials in your garden. Wet thenewspaper and place 10 sheets stacked throughout your garden beds. The paper prevents oxygen from reaching the plants and keeps new weed growth from sprouting. Apply a thin layer of mulch on top of the newspaper as an added reinforcement to a weed-free garden.
Boiling Water
Rodents, bugs, germs and weeds are typically treated chemically. However, the toxic methods in which you’ve chose to terminate the unwanted infestations can prove dangerous, especially if you’re allergic to the solutions. If you’re looking to destroy weeds growing out of your driveway, sidewalk or walkway, boiling water can penetrate the ground’s surface and annihilate the weeds. However, since this hot liquid can destroy other plant life with its heat, you want to restrict its usage in high planted areas.
Vodka isn’t solely restricted to your favorite martini. Mixing one ounce of vodka with two cups of water and a few droplets of dish soap helps dry out weeds that are left in the sun. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work as well in garden beds left in the shade. Because the vodka solution can’t decipher a weed from your perennial, you want to spray the solution carefully around your other flowers and plants.
The declining bee population is a major concern for environmentalists. One of the primary reasons behind their dwindling numbers is the amount pesticides used in farms and homes. If you’re looking for eco-friendly ways to kill weeds while protecting bees, vinegar is a proven solution. Simply pour regular household vinegar into a bottled sprayer. Since the vinegar solution is 5 percent acetic acid, it can burn and destroy unwanted weeds. It also works best on sunny days.
Corn Meal Gluten
Corn meal gluten is a great natural weed killer that prevents the unwanted vegetation from sprouting in the first place. You can safely apply the gluten product to established plant beds, vegetable gardens and flowers. While it won’t kill weeds that are already established, it can prevent weeds from spreading.
Dish Soap
On days when the weather is sunny and hot, the oil in dish soap can break down the heavy surfaces of the weeds. If you’re looking to get rid of deep rooted weeds, a mixture of 2 cups of Epsom salt, 1 gallon of household vinegar and ¼ cup of dish soap can be enough to destroy the pesky plants. Plus, because the dish soap gives the leaves a shiny appearance, you can easily keep track of where you’ve last sprayed.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.


IMG_1871.jpgI pride myself on the relationship I have with my daughter. Sure we have more than our fair share of knock down drag out fights, but they are usually resolved the same day and there are never personal attacks involved. We argue over things that happened or didn’t happen, not about who each of us are as people, which I believe is critical to a good relationship between any two parties. Rebecca knows (hopefully) that she can literally tell me anything and it will be without embarrassment for her or judgement by me. But there seems to be a lingering issue over the last 10 months between us that just won’t go away. And it was brought to my attention again the other night when I nudged my wife to tell me if there is anything going on with Rebecca that I should know about. As close as Rebecca and I are, I always like reassurances from my wife that I’m not missing anything. Well I’m glad I asked. Beth informed me that our daughter feels I am at odds with her about her self proclaimed “feminist” status and it bothered her a lot more than I realized.
At the beginning of the school year. Rebecca mentioned a few times to Beth and me that she considers herself to be a feminist. Rudely, I chuckled a bit insisting to myself and to her that she was nothing close to being a feminist. My first question to her was why she views herself as such and she attempted to articulate her beliefs. While I agreed with everything she was saying, I told her she is not a feminist and came just a little short of demanding that she stop calling herself that. The label really bothered me and I wanted her to stop connecting herself to a word that I didn’t believe truly reflected her ideologies, demeanor or interaction with others. The argument has persisted throughout the year, varying in intensity at different times, depending on my state of mental fatigue. Interestingly, the feminist issues that Rebecca told me were important to her were not the source of disagreement. She wants equal pay for men and women. So do I. She believes in reproductive rights for women. So do I. She is against domestic and sexual violence toward women. So am I. In fact, on just about every issue that Rebecca ever brought up as to why she considers herself to be a feminist, I was in agreement. And as we discussed each issue that she considered to be at the core of her feminist beliefs, she eventually looked at me and told me that I was a feminist too. Part of me laughed and the other part was taken back by her glib banter.
Despite my socially liberal views, I was always turned off by the word feminist. I associated the word as a cause being synonymous with hostility toward men or misguided anger. Part of it might trace back to my days in college when I was surrounded by many feminist activists who always just seemed antagonistic by nature. Again, the causes they were fighting for were more than justified, but I usually found their personalities to be off-putting, Chivalrous gestures often seemed to be construed as sexist acts for things that were simply common courtesy. Once asked by a woman why I felt the need to hold the door for her, I was stumped to offer an intelligent response. It wasn’t because I thought of her as being too weak to open the door herself or that I could increase my chances of getting her phone number for a date. (By the way, to the woman that I had that exchange with, I still think you are an a…) Like many people, it’s just what I would do for anyone. I guess for me, I’m a person who finds who delivers a message and the way that it is delivered to be just as important as the message itself. And too often I found the feminist message being communicated by people that I simply didn’t care to be around.
But for a guy who was primarily raised by his working mother and was taught that everyone deserves to be treated equally and with respect, irrespective of race, religion, age or gender, it would be hard to imagine that I would be anything other than supportive of the issues related to feminism. Even at a time when sexual orientation was a taboo topic, I grew up knowing that heterosexuals and homosexuals should never be treated differently. Maybe that doesn’t quite describe feminism, but you get the point. And as we fast forward to the parenting years for my two teenagers, it would be difficult to say I’m not supportive of feminist issues when it is my wife who is the sole income producer for our household since 2014. I was able to leave my job and venture off into a new career because I was confident that my partner would be able to take care of our financial needs for a period of time as I built my new business. I have tried to slice it and dice it every which way I could to see why Rebecca was wrong when she labeled me as a feminist as well. While I retorted, “yeah right”, she indeed was correct. It kills me to say it because the word just doesn’t sit well with me. However, at the end of the day, does it really matter if I like the word or not? It is the issues that matter, not the label they are put under. Maybe that will change one day, and a time will come where I will out myself as the feminist that I really am. But for now, I think I will just say that I am “pro gender equality.” That just sounds so much better to me.