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Funny - me in a constant flux of confusion

Funny How You Keep Me in a Constant Flux of Confusion

We are sitting in the kitchen, my wife, son, his friend Pate and I. We’re eating the wonderful meal the wife has prepared for us when suddenly my wife begins to explain how she cannot simply stand the smell of ketchup - that is why she can't it ketchup. She then says, that she eats ketchup with her white rice but the rice has to be hot or very warm in order for her to be able to eat the ketchup.

Of course my son who does not clearly understand the delicate intricacies of his mother’s way of thinking quickly pointed out: Mom, if you hate the way ketchup smells how can you eat it in your rice?

She then quickly tries to explain that it is not the same thing, that she can eat it because it is on the hot or warm white rice.

My son being his mother’s son, rebutted: But Mom, the smell didn’t change, it still smells the same way, nothing changed. If you can’t eat it because you hate the smell – then why are you eating it?

Since my sons friend was visiting, my wife kept her composer and smiled as she stated – you just don’t understand what I am saying.

As I sat there listing to the conversation between the two of them only one thought keep running through my mind: don’t get involved, do not get involved, because she is making no sense to me either.

Funning kids joke - Pooping is relaxing

OK I do this every once and awhile on Facebook because life is strange and some of the conversations that happen in my house, well, are odd, strange and downright hilarious. But yes, like I said, I do it on Facebook because it’s an interesting way to share my funny personal life without feeling like I am sharing too much.

So I am going to try it here with you. Here we go.

Mom: Son go take a bath.
Son: Why? I just want to sit here next to you.
Mom: Son, I said “go take a bath” now!
Dad: Do what Mommy said.
Son: OK, OK you don’t have to scream…
Mom and Dad look at each other wondering – who was screaming?
Son goes into the bathroom – five minutes pass and Mom and Dad notice that there is no sound of running water.
Mom: son what are you doing?
Son: I am pooping.
Mom: What is taking you so long?
Son: Because pooping is relaxing….
Mom looks at Dad: What did he just say?
Dad: I think he said that popping is relaxing (then Dad laughs out loud).

Tell me you got it. Tell you you laughed out loud, rolled around on the floor almost busting your gut, because I sure did. It is simply and utterly amazing what will come out of a child's mouth - what are they thinking. It was a surprise, a shock and a side splitting gut buster. It still makes me laugh as I think about it.

funny silly poop joke

10 Steps to Stop and Prevent Bullying

Personally I do not believe we can prevent bullying - like I told my children when they were young and still tell them today, some people are just darn mean. They do it for a lot of reasons, they are mean, bad, been hurt, or mentally ill. In either case you (my children) will need to learn when to walk away, when to stand up (fight, defend and even yes hurt this person - even if against school rules) and above all, understand that you need to come talk to me (parent first, unless the need requires an immediate teacher intervention) then teacher (school). Why Parent first, because I want to calmly talk to my child and get the facts, have it brought up to the schools attention and follow up on it - schools can fail and have failed when dealing with 500 plus students. So I want to be informed, involved and ready to act if need be (as in calling police or other measures).
I am human, a parent, which makes me partial to my child so I try to keep my emotions in check. For this reason, I agree with the following school guideline for teachers.

10 Steps to Stop and Prevent Bullying

Whether you are a parent, an educator, or a concerned friend of the family, there are ten steps you can take to stop and prevent bullying:
1.Pay attention. There are many warning signs that may point to a bullying problem, such as unexplained injuries, lost or destroyed personal items, changes in eating habits, and avoidance of school or other social situations. However, every student may not exhibit warning signs, or may go to great lengths to hide it. This is where paying attention is most valuable. Engage students on a daily basis and ask open-ended questions that encourage conversation.

2.Don’t ignore it. Never assume that a situation is harmless teasing. Different students have different levels of coping; what may be considered teasing to one may be humiliating and devastating to another. Whenever a student feels threatened in any way, take it seriously, and assure the student that you are there for them and will help.

3.When you see something — do something. Intervene as soon as you even think there may be a problem between students. Don’t brush it off as “kids are just being kids. They’ll get over it.” Some never do, and it affects them for a lifetime. All questionable behavior should be addressed immediately to keep a situation from escalating. Summon other adults if you deem the situation may get out of hand. Be sure to always refer to your school’s anti-bullying policy.

4.Remain calm. When you intervene, refuse to argue with either student. Model the respectful behavior you expect from the students. First make sure everyone is safe and that no one needs immediate medical attention. Reassure the students involved, as well as the bystanders. Explain to them what needs to happen next — bystanders go on to their expected destination while the students involved should be taken separately to a safe place.

5.Deal with students individually.
Don’t attempt to sort out the facts while everyone is present, don’t allow the students involved to talk with one another, and don’t ask bystanders to tell what they saw in front of others. Instead, talk with the individuals involved — including bystanders — on a one-on-one basis. This way, everyone will be able to tell their side of the story without worrying about what others may think or say.

6.Don’t make the students involved apologize and/or shake hands on the spot. Label the behavior as bullying. Explain that you take this type of behavior very seriously and that you plan to get to the bottom of it before you determine what should be done next and any resulting consequences based on your school’s anti-bullying policy. This empowers the bullied child — and the bystanders — to feel that someone will finally listen to their concerns and be fair about outcomes.

7.Hold bystanders accountable.
Bystanders provide bullies an audience, and often actually encourage bullying. Explain that this type of behavior is wrong, will not be tolerated, and that they also have a right and a responsibility to stop bullying. Identify yourself as a caring adult that they can always approach if they are being bullied and/or see or suspect bullying.

8.Listen and don’t pre-judge.
It is very possible that the person you suspect to be the bully may actually be a bullied student retaliating or a “bully’s” cry for help. It may also be the result of an undiagnosed medical, emotional or psychological issue. Rather than make any assumptions, listen to each child with an open mind.

9.Get appropriate professional help.
Be careful not to give any advice beyond your level of expertise. Rather than make any assumptions, if you deem there are any underlying and/or unsolved issues, refer the student to a nurse, counselor, school psychologist, social worker, or other appropriate professional.

10.Become trained to handle bullying situations.
If you work with students in any capacity, it is important to learn the proper ways to address bullying. Visit for information and resources. You can also take the pledge to stop bullying, as well as learn how to create a Bully Free program in your school and/or community.

With all that said: I want to make something clear to those who think being polite, patient and nice is a weakness.
A Mamma Bear looks cute and all, but don't mess with her cubs because she will kill you.

Meaning of Words: Stupid, Dumb, Ignorant, foolish and Retarded

Are you Stupid, Dumb, Ignorant, foolish or Retarded?

I had an interesting conversation with my children and some teens the other day. I asked them what the following words meant to them: Stupid, ignorant, dumb, foolish, and retarded.

words stupid,dumb,ignorant mean what
It was really fun to watch them try to explain each word and how the discussion quickly became an argument over how each word basically meant the same thing - you are calling me stupid, that I am not smart. After one or two minutes had passed I politely interrupted and I said:
“I believe that you guys are all ignorant of the true meaning of each word I presented you with.”

They all turned to look at me, each with a disgusted look on their face. I asked them “What, what did I say?” My daughter was the first to speak up – “I am not stupid!” As I tried to keep a straight face I asked her “when did I call you stupid?”
“Just now, you said I was stupid...”

My daughter’s friend hastily jumped into the fray “Yeah, you just called us all stupid.” She said with an angry tone.
Quickly I apologized but not in the way they would have expected me too. I apologized for using words they were unfamiliar with, that only brought on more disgusted faces. So I asked them to give me the time, attention, and to actually hear me out, as I go over the definition of each word.

Ignorant: lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular.

Stupid: lacking intelligence or common sense.

Dumb: (of a person) unable to speak, most typically because of congenital deafness.

Foolish: (of a person or action) lacking good sense or judgment (making proper careful choices); unwise.
[* Bible calls someone who does not want to accept sound knowledge or wisdom a fool or foolish]

Retarded: less advanced in mental, physical, or social development than is usual for one's age.

After I went over the” dictionary’s” definition of each word and giving them down to earth examples of each definition they all seemed to calm down.
What was my point, the purpose of my exercise? My goal was to help them understand that knowing and understanding are to different things. A teacher once told me that most people are too lazy to use their brain, and therefore they repeat words rather than use a better word in its place, as in the use of the word “like”.
ie. “Like you know dude, like it was a good time, like really awesome man...”

The reason you were offended, I explained, was because you never took the time to understand what each word meant and like most, you lumped them all together – to you they all mean a lack of intelligence.

In basic terms if I say you are ignorant – I mean that you do not have or lack the particular information I require. I did not call you stupid, you just lack the information, and I do not mean that you cannot learn the information - you simply do not have the information per-say.

If I call you foolish, again it is not that you cannot learn – it just means that you refuse to accept proven facts. I say the sun is yellow and you look up to the sky and say no, I think it is green. Or I say, 5 people have walked on this edge and fallen in, please avoid it and you say – no, it won’t happen to me (unwise decision, borderline rebellion).

If I say you are dumb, which comes from the days where the education system was unable (ignorant) to teach people who could not speak and/or hear. What I am saying is – you can’t hear me? Not that you lack intelligence.

I did all this because I wanted to help them understand that one – not knowing something, not understanding something does not mean you have a deficiency and therefore are incapable of learning. I also wanted them to think about the words they use and to consider that the words people use often times are taken out of context or applied lazily because the person does not have a more informed way of communicating there thought.

You asked what good was this, well let me tell you a story.

We were driving in the car and my wife was a bit miffed to put it lightly. My daughter questioned something she said and my wife responded by saying – stop acting stupid. My daughter in turn replied, stupid is a poor choice of words, are you saying I lack intelligence. Of which my wife slapped her hand on the gear stick and said “I didn’t say that I meant your being foolish.” Then my son shouts out from the back seat and says “She is not being foolish. Foolish is hitting the gear shift with your hand while driving knowing that the stick could move to reverse and you could cause an accident. Being foolish is about making poor choices.”
At that moment we all burst into laughter.

So my exercise was not in vain, instead of whining and bursting into tears about how "Mom called me stupid", she cleared the air and had an intelligent conversation, even if my son made us all laugh.

HELP! struggling, Drowning and feel like an utter failure

Ever felt like you were drowning?
Like the odds were stacked against you and nothing you did could change the outcome.
Life is a struggle, it can swallow you up and spit you out after it has ground you up into little insignificant pieces.

Harsh isn’t it? But that is how I feel. I’ve had so many things go wrong lately – well I shouldn’t say lately; it has been months and more that I have been dealing with some very difficult things in my life. I tell my children that they need to think positive, never give up and even know when all you can do is ride the wave because there is nothing within your power that can change certain circumstances.
But here I sit, thinking about my mother and her second battle with cancer - and she doesn't look good.

I’m thinking about all the bad luck I have been having lately. I’m thinking about my most recent troubles that have arisen one right after the other and what do I get from my wife – “You have to live what you preach. You tell the kids that they have to overcome – you can’t let them see you crumble.” But that is not what I teach (I don’t preach).

What I want to teach my kids, and the kids I deal with at the school, is that life is difficult but you can overcome. You may not be able to win every battle but you can win some if you try, learn, dedicate yourself and struggle. But that is where I find myself – struggling, and I find myself facing obstacles that are far greater than I can handle. I am not saying I will quit, but l feel like I want to. I am not saying that I don’t have the will power or desire – I just feel like I’m waning. I want to live what I teach (or preach) but it feels like no matter what I do, how hard I fight, the tools I use or the “smart” things I do are simply not enough to change the rising tide.

I’m staring at a picture of my mother and I know, there is nothing I can do. No amount of will power or dedication is going to change this situation. All I have is my faith, my hope and my prayers.

I can understand, I lived my young life struggling just to get by – but there is no greater struggle than finding yourself feeling worthless. Not because I am, but because there is nothing I can do, nothing I can change, nothing except continuing to struggle as I try to keep my head above water wondering, hoping, desperately in need of calmer seas.

I am reminded of how easy it can be to be overwhelmed by circumstances and feeling so alone despite being surrounded by so many.

10 yr-old CEO builds business empire - earns $1000 a weekend

A ten year old boy earns $1,000 every weekend.
I love reading and sharing stories like this with my children. Life can and is difficult – no doubt about it. But if you have an open mind, are willing to think outside of the box and the courage mixed with a bit of determination – you can accomplish much.

I am the first to say success is a mixture of hard work, dedication and luck. No one can deny that there is a bit of luck involved in success, especially when the odds are stacked against you. But this pint sized CEO is living proof that it can be done. Who knows maybe you fail, but there is also that chance that you are the one to succeed. This story is awesome; it makes me want to tell my children to stop whining about how difficult things can be and just do it. This kid is doing nothing special – I put it in this way because children, people are always saying this can’t work. People have tried it and fail, it’s too simple an idea – and they go on and on with the excuses. But this little boy didn’t look at all the what if’s and why not, he just went out and did it.

10-year-old CEO builds bite-sized empire

You've heard of Donald Trump, Bill Gates and Jay-Z; all big names in the business world.
Now, meet Cory Nieves, a pint-sized entrepreneur who's making his name in cookies, one bite at a time, CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports.
Every Saturday, on the streets of Englewood, New Jersey, Nieves pulls his wagon cart around town, selling home-made cookies to loyal customers at boutiques, barbershops and car dealerships.
The 10-year-old 5th grader is founder, CEO and head of distribution for Mr. Cory's Cookies.
What makes his cookies so good? Nieves says, "Well, it's made with love. And they're all-natural. And no preservatives. None."
Nieves started the company five years ago after moving to New Jersey with his mother from the Bronx.
"One day, we were on the bus and he just came out and was like, 'Ma, you know, I wanna get a car or whatever. Cause it's too cold.' I said, 'Cory, how am I gettin' a car, off of my looks?' I told him that and then, he said, 'Well, we can sell hot cocoa,'" said Nieves' mother Lisa Howard. "And then, he wanted to add something to that, like, something, a dessert base. And he wanted to try the cookies."
When Nieves started, he didn't know much about baking.
"I didn't really know," he said. "I just looked it up with some magazines, websites. Looked it up. Little search. 'What is this? How you make that?' And I didn't like the recipes, so I just started changin' it around."
From his tiny home kitchen, Nieves built up a business to the point where he's had to move the operation into a commercial space. These days, he sells up to a thousand cookies a weekend at almost $1 a piece.
"We incorporated the business into an LLC corporation, 'cause we couldn't use our regular kitchen unless this whole house is commercial," he said.
His mother and chief operating officer Lisa is now legally required to do the baking, but make no mistake, Cory is the man in charge.
Nieves said he thinks he has a head for business, though his mom helps him sometimes.
"I look over, like, financials and stuff," Nieves said. "The profit and loss statements, you know."
"Sometimes I cannot believe my son is my boss," Nieves' mother Lisa said. "Like, hold on a second. And sometimes, I have to correct him. Because he sometimes takes that to the head. And I have to say, 'Hold on, Cory, I gotta cut the check. You can't. So, let's get it together.'"
Having left his imprint on the culinary world, the mini mogul is now taking aim at the fashion industry.
"I like Pharrell," Nieves said. "He's very fashionable. [I want to] have my own, like, clothing line, under the brand Mr. Cory."
His brand has already led to more than 30,000 followers on Instagram, an appearance on the Ellen Degeneres show.
Now that he's met the original goal with the gift of a family car, "Mr. Cory" is focusing on the next phase of his career. But that's confidential for now.
"All the new stuff that's gonna come out, it's secret," he said. "You know, a lotta new stuff I wanna come out, G-14 Classified. That's, like, highly secured. Like, high security. If you bribe us, you might just go to court."

He has his own website:

Pet costume: Star Wars / only for dogs???

Pet costume – Star Wars craze

click to order Dart Vader
Now I have seen it all – costumes for your pets and to top it off, it’s Star Wars costumes for your pets.

You can dress up your loyal best buddy up as Dart Vader or my favorite, as Yoda. The force is strong with this one it is. Yep, your friendly four legged friend can dress up for Halloween as one of your favorite Star Wars characters.

Now I have to hand it to the person who came up with this idea, I am sure that my dog wouldn’t stand being all trussed up as my favorite star Wars character, but then again I no longer have a dog. It’s a shame though that they don’t seem to have these pet costumes for cats – is it some form a petcism, are dog considered better than cats, should we be rioting in the streets for equal rights? Probably not but who ever came up with this idea, You have won my respect, this is probably one of the craziest ideas I have seen but I am sure that they are making a boat load of money.

This is going to be one of those things that I am going to have to remember, for those days when my children come and say: I have no ideas or that won’t work – for goodness sake, Amazon is selling pet costumes and their making money.

Yoda Costume
click to order Yoda costume

Shirt with attached plush arms and hat with large foam ears
Size Small fits up to 14-inch chest and 11-inch neck to tail
Suggested for Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Australian Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier, Toy Poodle and similar size animals
Officially licensed by Lucas films Limited, LLC
Let your dog join the fun in a costume from Rubies Costume Company
Order one now

And just in case you were wondering - Yes, they do have a Princess Leia ....

I'm not sure how to react to that one...

Recipe: 9 Better ways to top your next burger

9 Better ways to top your next burger: recipe

I love hamburgers – there is nothing better than a delicious juicy well-cooked burger on a toasted bun. But of course the bun and the burger is only part of the delicious taste: the toppings are what take it to a whole other level. So here are a few toppings I found online that I am thinking of trying out. Tell me what you think.

Chips 'n' Guac Burger
Top each burger with 1 tablespoon guacamole + 1 tablespoon sliced pickled jalapeños + 3 tortilla chips.

Crunchy Onion Burger
Top each burger with 1 tablespoon onion dip + 1/4 cup canned fried onions (we love French's).

Guy Fieri's Donkey Sauce Burger
Mix 1 cup mayo + 1/4 cup roasted garlic + 1 teaspoon mustard + 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire + 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Divide among burgers with toppings.

Guy Fieri's Pepper & Onion Burger
Cook 1 red onion + 1 yellow or red pepper + 2 tablespoons oil on high until tender; stir in 1/4 teaspoon each paprika, salt and pepper. Top burgers with Jack cheese + mixture.

The New Englander Burger
Top each burger with 1 slice Cheddar cheese + 3 thin slices apple + 3 thin slices red onion.

Creamy Pesto Burger
Beat together 6 ounce softened reduced-fat cream cheese + 3 tablespoons pesto + 2 teaspoon lemon juice; divide among burgers. Top with shredded romaine lettuce.
*All toppings serve 8

The So. Cal Burger
Mash together 2 ripe avocados + 1/4 cup mayo + 1 crushed clove garlic. Divide among burgers. Top with shredded carrots and alfalfa sprouts.

The Spicy Elvis Burger
Divide 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter + 1/2 cup hot-pepper jelly among burgers. Top each with 2 slices cooked bacon.

Vietnamese Banh Mi
Mix 2 medium Kirby cucumbers, sliced + 1/2 cup shredded carrots + 1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar + 1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped + 1/2 teaspoon salt; chill 1 hour. Divide among burgers.

Funny the Biggest Band Geek - is Dad!

Funny the Biggest Band Geek – is Dad?

How to have fun at a high school football game? Be a band geek!

I love sports. I used to watch football all the time as well as basketball – back in the days when the Chicago Bulls were a dynasty. But ask me to go to a high school football game and I am not into it, really, it’s not my thing. But seeing that my baby girl is in the band, she is also the drum major, so I decided to go to the game even while it was lightly raining and a bit chilly.

I am Sorry...
Slowly moving my blog articles over to my new website:
The post is at my parenting page at my new site.

Thank you for visiting my site and please feel free to visit my new website.

Amazon Student (college) program is kinda cool (save some money)

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Funny silly joke - cartoon from 1996

Here is an old comic I drew way back in 1996.
I think it is funny and if you are married - you know you thought of this as well.

No, No I don't want to ......

funny message joke

You know you want to laugh, especially if you have been there…. The things we do for the people we love…. LOL.

Fun Vacation – Hotel hopping “New Trend”

Fun Vacation – Hotel hopping "New Trend" review

Nothing like starting a new trend! My vacation was a blast and we learned a lot along the way. Nothing like turning a negative into a positive and finding new things to see, do and enjoy during a fun filled family vacation.

The vacation started on a rocky start. First I learned that we weren’t going to my favorite spot in Orlando because my big baby girl needed to go to a Band (Drum Major) training and the only one she could attend was the one in Charlotte, North Carolina – What? I know nothing about this until now! So here I am making plans to take my daughter to NC and to so how incorporate my vacation into this. I feel bad calling it a vacation since my baby girl will be off at her training camp and it will only be me, the wife and the little man… after I thought about it I figured, hey, one less mouth to feed and one less ticket to pay for ( I am such a bad dad … LOL).

We settled on a Hotel close to the college where my daughter was going to have her DMA training and we thought it was a nice hotel (pictures are so deceiving). It was nice, I will be honest I didn’t expect much but when we arrived I could see right away there were going to be problems. Not with me per say, I believe a hotel room is only needed to sleep in – I am here for all the outdoor activities, as long as I have shade that is. But the minute we walked in my wife started pointing out the wear and tear, the un-kept manner things appeared to be in and the not so nice attention we were given – Hello, we are paying customers.

I admit, I loved the idea of a mini-lobby library that was free for all to use. But after that, everything went down hill. The Country Inn $ Suites Charlotte University Place at 131 East McCallough Dr Charlotte, NC 28262 was not at all worth the price. The attitude, the “I don’t care” moody attitude we received at check-in was only the start. The key cards failed on first attempt, not to mention the fact that it continued to fail on a regular basis. The pool was closed and then over chlorinated and very cloudy the next day. The hot tub – was broken and working at half capacity. It wasn’t hot, over chlorinated and dirty. The room was nice but we found a dirty sheet on one bed. This was all piling up even though I was trying to look on the bright side.

After we took my daughter to her DMA training program the next day we sat down to have a long discussion, should we stay or leave – we opted to leave. It was simply way too much to over look. I felt bad because I like to be loyal, I wanted to give them a chance to make it up to us but I couldn’t afford having the wife and kid miserable. We decided to check out some other hotels in the area. A family member from NY told us about an app. that gave us access to deep discounts on one-night hotel stays. The concept behind the app. Is that hotels need to fill rooms and are willing to give discounts to fill those empty rooms. He told us and sent us some pictures of some hotels he has been in – really nice ones.

My wife was ready to move and ready to hotel hop – she didn’t care that we would be booking only one night stays each day (we had four days to go …?). Me on the other hand wanted something more stable so I grabbed my cellphone and started searching – thank God for Orbitz. Continue Reading

Fun Vacation: review – Hotel hopping “New Trend” 2

Fun Vacation – Hotel hopping “New Trend” review

We decided to stay at HYATT Place Charlotte/City Park at 4119 South Stream Blvd Charlotte, NC 28217 – and it was a great choice. I was ready to do the hotel hopping thing if we ran across another bad hotel, but the minute we got there we could see and feel the deference. We were greeted like if we were important and expected. The hotel looked wonderful and the breakfast area was “awesome”. The pool had crystal clear water and the rooms – oh the rooms, wonderful. We had a suit with two double beds and a separate room with a sofa bed. Now I am not going to say that it was brand new, if you look hard enough (being an ex-realtor) I can see some very minor defects, but compared to the other hotel, I was at the Taj-Mahal.

I can not get over the service, they were very helpful, the bar guy even helped me carry my drinks out to the pool, simply good people. Free newspaper, free internet, 42 inch TV, even though me, my son and my nieces spent most of our TV time watching Hulu on my tablet. Oh and did I mention the air, nice crisp cool air… as I write this I want to go back.

The Hyatt Place was close to everything, in was closer to the city so we went on several fun adventures that turned out to be fun and educational. We went to the NC Air Force Aeronautics Museum, my son loved that place. We sat in a jet fighter cockpit, saw the history of aeronautics and even saw the wreckage of the airplane that went down in the Hudson River in NY. We were invited to join a scavenger hunt for information, my son enjoyed that and I was reminded how learning can be fun if properly initiated.

Did you know that “the blue box” is the nickname of the first air flight trainer – it was invented by a Doctor for personal use and it wasn’t until several years later until the air force purchase the rights to use it to train pilots.

We visited the “Sea Life Aquarium” which happens to be in the Concord Mega-Mall. I was surprised to see such a large aquarium in a mall – I was also afraid my wife would want to spend the rest of the day in the mall. Luckily after spending two hours in the aquarium looking and touching the animals, after the play area and the spending another hour on a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium where my son asked hundreds of questions ( the guide was a school teacher who worked part-time, she said this was the best group she has ever had) we skipped the mall and went outside to a small carnival. We played miniature golf, the girls got on one of those bungi jumping trampoline things – it was a long fun day. In fact when we got in the car, all the kids fell asleep.

I have to say most of the people we dealt with were very nice. The Jocks & Jill's Sports Grill treat us like kings and queens. The food was great and the service was like I said – out of this world. I ate there three times and all three times it was wonderful.

We went into the city, to a place called “The Greens”, I was shocked to find so many things closed during the weekend. It was Saturday, a day you would think business open up for people with free time to hung out but no, most things were closed. But it was still a nice area and the things that were open were an adventure in itself. I loved the Wells Fargo museum, that was a treat and we got to learn a few things. If a museum can keep a ten year old boy and one eight year old girl with a 4 year old girl busy, happy and content – you know that is a fun place to be in. I have to admit that even my wife and I walked out of there happy. We also went to a near by art gallery, the kids were fascinated by the art, I was fascinated by the prices - $23,000 dollars for what looked to me like a bunch of paint scribbled on to a canvas? But hey, to each is own.

Between all the activities, the hours in the pool, and the delicious food we ate; I have to say we had a blast. I asked my son what was his favorite part and of course it was the aviation museum, in his own words “best place ever”.   Continue Reading

Fun Vacation – Hotel hopping “New Trend”, Hotel review 3

Fun Vacation – Hotel hopping "New Trend" review

But like all things, it had to come to an end. Our week was over and we had to go over to my daughters DMA training site to watch them perform for us and then we were off, headed home. But being who I am and a surprise to my wife, seeing that I didn’t want to drive for eight to nine hours straight from NC to home I asked my wife if she wanted one more hotel stay – oh yeah, she was quick to say yes.

She took out the cellphone and looked for another Hyatt hotel in Orlando Florida. We figured if we had a good experience at the NC Hyatt, well, it should be good in Orlando, Fl.

We booked our room on Orbitz (again, thank you God) and while we did make it there a bit that due to the rain I knew it was going to be nice. The lobby and the breakfast area was huge and beautiful and to top that off, the first words out of the receptionist mouth was – welcome back. I couldn’t help but laugh as I said “thank you, but we just arrived”. She laughed and continued to make us feel welcomed, it was even better than what we experienced in NC. Now like I said, if you look hard enough you will find problems. My wife didn’t like that the shower head looked worn and during breakfast when I went early (before the rest of the family) to order a sandwich with no eggs for my son (allergic to eggs) I over heard the front desk gentlemen complained to all his co-workers that someone left all the garbage bins full and forgot to clean this and that – hey, lower your voice you have a customer hear is what I was thinking. But all in all, it was a great experience. They let us check out an hour later, I got a free drink for my wife, and breakfast and the pool was great.

I have to say that this trip was one of the best trips I’ve had. Granted, I love the Double Tree in Orlando – read my post. This hotel had a moderate room but it was what we asked for, but the outdoor pool table, the mini-golf, the large checker game, ping-pong table and all the other amenities are great. I also love the Coco Keys hotel in Orlando, Fl - read more here. That is a nice hotel, the rooms are not as fancy but the three "Free" water parks in the hotel make up for that. I may just have to do some more hotel hopping to see what other good, great and awesome hotels are out there.

Review: Hotels
Country Inn Suites, NC
131 East McCollough Dr. Charlotte, NC – bad service, needs lots of maintenance – a no-no.
Hyatt Place, NC
4119 S. Stream Blvd Charlotte, NC – Awesome hotel, wonderful service, clean, too many good points
Hyatt Place, Fl
8741 International Drive, Orlando, Fl. – (*) Awesome, great service, clean, pool and more just great
(*) Though we only only stood one night

DREAM - Motivational Video (Powerful)

DREAM - Motivational Video.

Wow, this is powerful. This is what I want my children, my family, my friends - what I want for myself...
To understand and to realize it is not over, start right, make mistakes, continue forward, life throws you curve balls - things, bad things happen.
But don't give up.
Never stop growing, learning, striving.
You are unique, special, one of a kind - be YOU! The best YOU - You can be.
People may not follow you - but you don't have to follow them.
People may not understand - but you understand, you know, you feel, You can.

Dream. Dream big!
Dream for tomorrow, next month, next year - years from now. Dream.
Then work to make those dreams a reality.

Book Review: Beyonders A world without hereos by my son (10 yrs old)

Book review of: “Beyonders A world without heroes” by my son (a 10 yr. old).

It’s summer and my son has been reading up a storm. Being the type of parent that I am I wanted to run a test – you know, see if my son really was reading, understanding as well as enjoying the books he was reading.

I also wanted to take the time to sharpen his writing skills (or at least have him practice his writing skills). So what I did was simple, I asked him to write me a review of his latest book. Of course I had to give him some tips on how and what I wanted but he happily went to work. No he wasn’t happy that I asked him for a two word review but, after a bit of coaxing he did what needed to be done. Below is and image of his hand written review and I have typed out his review (now that I think about it – I should have had him type this out).

Book Title: Beyonders - A world without Hereos
Author: Brandon Mull
Review By: Isaac

Beyonders is about a boy named Jason that meets another person named Rachel in a world called Lyrian. Jason read a book he wasn’t supposed to and since he read the book, he put himself on a quest to defeat Maldor, The King of all the land, and to find a way back home. It took them many days to find a magical “word” that could be used to defeat Maldor.

Jason and Rachel have had to trust strangers like Tark, Ferrin, Drake, and Jasher. They had to travel to six different places to find all the syllables they needed to defeat Maldor. They met a guy named Galloran that failed with the word but gave them a syllable for the word.
The main characters are Jason and Rachel. The enemy is Maldor. The trouble they face is that Maldor is trying to take over the world of Lyrian by being friends with the other kingdoms rather than destroying them with magical power.

At the end of the book Jason gets sent back to his world. But he needs to go back for Rachel. I recommend this book for others because of the suspense, adventure, magic, and humor. I believe that if you read this book, like me, you too will enjoy and like the adventures Jason faces in the story “Beyonders – A world without heroes”.

Broken no other choice - ebook introduction

Broken – no other choice


I am sitting at my desk desperately hoping the school day flies by. I really don’t like it here, things haven’t been going well and being the class outcast once again is taking its toll on me.

There’s a knock at the classroom door, one of the office administrators walks in and calls the teacher over to the side. Soon two large men dressed in dark suits walk in and one of them whispers something into the teacher’s ear. The classroom is silent; everyone is trying to listen in on what is being secretly said between them. We are all anxious, curious about what is happening.

The entire classroom turns to look at me in shock when the teacher calls out my name and motions me to come forward.

“Take all your stuff with you.” She says with this tense ring in her voice.

I was excited and nervous all at the same time. I couldn’t help but smile on the inside, do you see me, that’s right look at me, I am important. As I put everything I had into my bag, all eyes were on me, it felt good to feel superior, to feel special, nothing like what they believed me to be. But at the same time I was scared. Who were these people? What did they want with me and why did they come for me?

I was rushed out the classroom door, lead down the hallway and straight out of the schools large metal front doors without a word.

“What’s going on?” I timidly asked; but all I got was this bland cold response on how they were taking me to see my mother. Should I be nervous? It’s not like the school would let me be taken away by strangers, right? After all, they were promising me that they were only taking me to see my mother.

They put me into the back seat of a car and the tall slim white man sitting behind the driver’s wheel turned to asked me if I would like to see a movie.

“What? See a movie? I thought we were going to see my mother?” I asked with a bit of concern.

“We are, but we have to pick up your brothers and sisters. So I thought you might like to see a movie as we wait,” the man said as he turned on the car and started to drive off.

“Sure, I guess,” I said with a fair amount of tension in my voice.

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Publisher: KNI Publishing inc. (June 15, 2014)
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Broken no other choice - introduction pt 2 free ebook chapter

Broken – no other choice

I’ve never been to the movies, I wasn’t sure how to respond but if this was an added bonus to getting out of school early – I am all in.

As the men in the front seat quietly talked to each other I spent my time looking out the window. I was thinking about how great this would be for me, tomorrow I would be back in school telling all the kids how I spent the day at the movies. I would finally have something that would make me special, make me important and something that will make them all very jealous of me.

They parked the car and quickly walked me into the theater, they didn’t even pay for a ticket, they just flashed their badges and continued to walk me right in. The room was dark, they directed me to a seat three rows up from the front and smack dab in the middle of this humongous brightly lit screen that showed dancing cartoon popcorn and candy characters. This was the best day of my life.

The movie started and the title popped onto the screen – Airplane the movie. It was a really funny movie, I spent a lot of time laughing out loud to myself, but sadly it was a short lived experience. Before the movie ended the tall slim man leaned over and told me we had to leave, he wasn’t asking, he was ordering me to get up and to follow him.

The car dropped us off at my house and my mom was inside hastily packing our things up into large black garbage bags. My older sister was sitting at the kitchen table while eating some Kentucky fried chicken. This was another one of those first time things, I was starting to wonder when was it going to happen – this is not my life, when is the other shoe going to drop.

I was seated at the table by my sister and a young black woman nicely dressed in a dark brown suit walks into the kitchen and pulls one of the men over to the side. I’m not sure what she told him but he wasn’t happy about it.

“Ok people we have to get moving now,” He sternly said.

The woman walked off to one of the back rooms calling my mother’s name.

“We really have to get going, there’s no time.”

“What do we do with the chicken and the rest of the food?” The other man asked.

The man who seemed to be in charge looked around the room, he hastily grabbed one of the black garbage bags on the counter and passed it to the other man.

“Throw all the chicken in the bag and leave the rest – we have to go.” He pointed to me and my sister as he walked out of the kitchen saying “I’ll get the car ready.”

In the car I learned that we were leaving, they were moving us once again. We were going to be living in a new place, a new home. I wasn’t sure of what was happening or why we had to move but it wasn’t fair. As much as I hated my school, I hated being the new kid at school even more.

“Where are we going?” My sister asked with an angry tone in her voice and an even angrier look on her face.

The man who was in charge; who had been giving all the orders turned back to look at her from the front seat.

“We are taking you some place safe.” I could tell he was trying to give her his best reassuring smile. “It’s going to be better – it will be a much nicer place for you.”

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Publisher: KNI Publishing inc. (June 15, 2014)
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Broken no other choice - new ebook / true story

Broken – no other choice

Broken, a small boy faces a grave decision all on his own. Life has been a series of hardship, horrific circumstances and unbearable heartaches. The decision is obvious - the only way out is to end it all. The choice is clear; in order to escape this life of sorrow there can only be one inevitable course of action.

What do you do when you are broken? When hope, is all but a shattered dream that has long ago slipped through your fingers like shifting sand. Tired of the pain, the sorrow, the desire to give up can overwhelm you. Who do you call when there is no one to call, when the person who should have protected you – abandons you?

Based on a true story
The flood of memories overwhelmed me. My heart begins to sink, my entire chest increasingly hurts with every pounding heartbeat. Tears begin to flow, streaming down my cheeks. I was having difficulty breathing; I was struggling to hold back the endless waves of emotions. My mind ran back and forth as it rehashed all of my memories, the countless hurts, painful words, disgusting looks, horrific moments that played over and over in my head.
"Why do you hate me?" I whispered...

Author Comments
It was extremely difficult for me to write this book. Looking back on my past brought a lot of memories to the surface and much pain with it as well.
You may ask why would I do it? Why would I share deep intimate and personal tragedies with you or have it readily available for my children to read? I have spent much of my life teaching my children that choices are important, that the decisions we make have consequences – for bad and good. I want my children (and you the reader) to know that yes, life is not a bed of roses, and that life is not fair. But with all the possible excuses we can come up with to surrender, to give up on life – the right choice is to fight, to hope and to believe in yourself.

Order ebook today: Broken no other choice

Product Details ebook
File Size: 234 KB
Publisher: KNI Publishing inc. (June 15, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

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Broken no other choice - chapter one (part one)

Broken – no other choice


Happiness, everyone wants it but so few seem to truly find it. The definition of happiness is what exactly? Is happiness when you have everything you want? Is happiness when you feel good about something, someone or about yourself? If happiness is a feeling then isn't it just fleeting, like the wisp of the wind it is here now and gone before you even know it? Is happiness something you decide on, like my mother who likes to say "you choose to be happy and you choose to be sad". What does that even mean? Do I really have a choice in the matter, because if I do, who do I talk to? Where can I write and mail a letter to? But most of all, to whom do I address my grievances?

Happiness, now that may well be an utter and complete foreign concept to me. I wouldn't know what happiness looked like even if it came up hit me in the face and said "hello, here I am you loser".

After all I live in a world made not of my own choosing, I did not ask to be born into this life, much less into the one I am currently living now today. I look out my seventh floor window and all I see around me is, well let’s just say it's not happy. What would you call a row of old decrepit buildings, all of which were eight stories high and next to them were more and more of the same? Block after block each looking just as bad as the one before and if that wasn't gloomy enough for you, all you had to do was to look into one of these windows, any window, just take your pick. It doesn't matter which window you choose to look into, not the slightest bit, because they are all the same.

What I am sure you will find, without a doubt, are simple people whom have not yet realized that they have no hope.

Order Now Broken no other choice

Order ebook today: Broken no other choice
Product Details ebook
File Size: 234 KB
Publisher: KNI Publishing inc. (June 15, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Author Comments
It was extremely difficult for me to write this book. Looking back on my past brought a lot of memories to the surface and much pain with it as well.
You may ask why would I do it? Why would I share deep intimate and personal tragedies with you or have it readily available for my children to read? I have spent much of my life teaching my children that choices are important, that the decisions we make have consequences – for bad and good. I want my children (and you the reader) to know that yes, life is not a bed of roses, and that life is not fair. But with all the possible excuses we can come up with to surrender, to give up on life – the right choice is to fight, to hope and to believe in yourself.

How a tiny superhero saves a dieing factory - dreams and success

Who doesn’t like a David and Goliath story – where the little guy against all odds comes out winning in the end? No one, everyone loves these kinds of stories. But what if it were a bit different? What if it was more like a dream shatters and a superhero saves the day!

I love stories about success – especially the ones that show and prove that when one person succeeds – other people benefit as well.
A dream was formed and it became successful, time past and hard times destroyed the dream. Hundreds of people were put out of work and a business had to close – but fear not! A superhero was in the horizon. Look in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane no it’s… A small child in a cape!

Fall River Apparel Company saved by unlikely hero
By Sarah Lybrand

Fall River Apparel is a cut and sew contracting business that has gone from a $3 million company in its heyday, to shuttered and bankrupt after the manufacturing bust, to back in business more than a decade later.
Remarkably it and owner Jimmy Petrosso have survived, most recently knocking the dust off the old machinery to help out a small Etsy shop needing a boost of manufacturing power. This, at a time when the last relics of the garment industry are still standing like ghost ships in towns across America -- such as in Fall River, Mass.
“Back when I was a child, Fall River was known for its mills and its factories. And if you were going to work anywhere in Fall River that is where it would be," says Petrosso. "You could literally quit a job in one mill and get a job in another mill the next day. Labor was in demand and there was plenty of it.”
Starting out of a two-bedroom apartment back in 1983 with a seamstress named Mary, Petrosso’s business grew until, at the height of success in 2001, he owned a 120,000-square foot-factory that employed over 100 people. “At our peak, we were at $2.5 to $3 million in revenue.”
But then all the mills in Fall River started closing. Offshore manufacturing was taking its toll. “I went in one day and there weren’t anymore orders to come -- and we were forced to close. The day we closed and I had to tell those 100 people -- I was in the corner crying.”
Petrosso thought his factory was dead.
“I went bankrupt…And that was the end, right? But no—even if you're dragged down to zero, get up and keep going because if you are a true entrepreneur, whether you make cupcakes or make dresses, you just have to keep doing it. Success is in the doing and the surviving.”
And survive he did – with a little help from an unexpected hero.
Enter a young Allison Faunce, owner of the Etsy shop Little Hero Capes, which sells costumes for kids.
“Little Hero Capes started when my oldest son was running around with a dishtowel," recalls Faunce. "It was around the holidays so I threw up a few capes [on Etsy] to try it out and the very next day, I had sold out of all of the capes. I got a wholesale inquiry from my first retail shop, and I got some press right away. I thought, 'OK, there might be something to this.'”
But Faunce was nine months pregnant at the time, and soon realized that demand for her superhero capes was beyond her reach. She needed a fast, reliable solution to swoop in to save the day. She called Fall River Apparel to get a quote. “I had a lot of anxiety. I felt a little naïve walking into this grand mill building, which in itself was really intimidating,” says Faunce.
Petrosso proved to be just the partner she needed, and the job to sew superhero capes was an unexpected lifeline for a factory that otherwise would have remained shuttered. He admits he was open to considering newer, younger possibilities – including embracing a new attitude toward technology.
“The web was kind of a scary thing to me...I just didn’t understand what the web could be for my business,” Petrosso says. “[But then] Allison walks in smiling and happy and young – energetic like I was and she comes in with a hero cape. Mary and I are looking at the hero cape and we are like – what is she doing?”
Petrosso says of Faunce, “she’d been doing this herself out of her house and so she knew what she was doing -- she just needed us to do more of it….And I told Mary, you have to bet on people sometimes. Allison had energy and she was confident. So we started making little hero capes -- and it’s working out.” Now, Allison is able to keep up with the demand. Fall River Apparel has now produced more than 5,000 capes that retail at around $45 and it is paying off for both parties. Fall River is back on the rise and receives more than 20 inquires a week from home sewers. A similar web-based business to little hero capes is Wrapeaze - a unique hooded wrap that keeps a child warm without the hassle. Fall River has manufactured thousands of the hoodies and the orders continue to increase.
Petrosso and his seamstress have updated some of their technology, and Faunce is grateful for help from an apparel company that has so much wisdom and history to share. “Because really business is a relationship, that’s what I’m always connected with," says Faunce.
Petrosso describes it more like this: “What Allison has taught me is that there are energetic younger people out there that believe in what they’re doing and believe that making it in America matters. That gives me hope, because it was kind of tough when we lost it all…[Even if] she puts two people to work, if there's 1,000 Allisons, it’s still putting people to work. So I would hope that there are more Allison's, and they don’t give up and that there are still people like me to help them. I’m a dinosaur and if I go extinct, there’s no one to turn to.”
Are you Driven? Share your story with us at or follow us on Twitter @YahooFinance #drivenstories.
Video produced by Jessica Ashford; co-produced by Emily Sharnhorst. Production by Michael Manas, Richard Rella, Josh Kesner, Maryann Vanderventor. Edited by Sean Elms. Audio Edited by J.J. Brown. Graphics by Todd Tanner and Adam Saul For Yahoo! Studios. Executive Producers: Russ Torres and Peter Gorenstein.
Author: Sarah Lybrand

We Got Our Kids in College by Age 12

Kip and Mona Lisa Harding are just your average high school sweethearts … with 10 children. Oh, and seven of those 10 children have gotten into college by the age of 12 (so far), and the youngest three are well on their way to joining them.

First, a little about our kids. Our three eldest daughters are Hannah, 26, an engineer since age 22; Rosannah, 24, an architect with her own practice; and Serennah, 22, one of the youngest doctors in the U.S. Navy. Some of our boys are currently studying to become a computer scientist; a musician/composer; and a scholar of the Middle Ages (who currently has the highest average in his college classes). Another child, also now in college at age 11, is considering a law degree.

"How do you do it?" Since the release of our book "The Brainy Bunch," this has been the question we hear the most. People want to know how we get our children into college early — did we break or bend some sort of golden rule? They think it's impossible for our story to be true. Some even wonder how college admission could even be allowed for someone so young. The truth is that starting your child on a college curriculum at 10, 13, or 16 is possible — and we have done it seven times.

The common theme here is this: Our kids are not geniuses, and neither are we. We are just average folks who decided that we wanted to take a chance on homeschooling. And we're happy to share our homeschooling story whenever and wherever we are asked, because we want people to know that they have options. Parents can and should take control and decide how they want their kids to be educated. Of course, there are many private and public schools out there to choose from. But we want people to see that if ordinary people like us can homeschool and have great success then they can, too.

So, how do we do it? There is no science or formula to our success. We offer consulting services to parents all over the country, and during these sessions, we never say "buy this or that curriculum" or "follow these steps and — presto! — your kids will get into college by 12." What we do share is the advice that if we as parents let our kids work at their own pace, provide material that the kids are interested in, and never hold them back, then they'll begin to see amazing results. Here are our top tips on how to get there.

Always ask your child questions. The answers will allow you to see what they are truly passionate about – and can help show you their future paths. As parents we tend to think we know what is best for our children, and in many ways, we do. However, we don't always know how our children's talents may translate in terms of a career. You might think they are only wasting time on a video game or the latest fashion trends. But looking further into these expressions of interest may just reveal a deeper meaning: What if your child is the designer of the next Donkey Kong? What if he or she is the next Coco Chanel or Ralph Lauren?

The problem is, most parents and teachers don't address what a child wants to be when they grow up because there is a lot that has to occur between now and the time we get there. Moreover, you don't want to put stress on children, making them think they have to get through all these hurdles to reach their final objective in one day. The trick is to tap into what inspires them so you know what will keep their interest. It's kind of like a game; by discovering their core interest and focusing everything toward that, they grow amazingly fast.

Be patient. If your child is a gamer and just wants to play online for hours on end, try to play with them. Except you're not mindless players — quite the opposite. You can ask your child provocative questions like, "How do you think the programmers created those graphics?" Pick up some magazines on the subject and let them read about it to increase their English skills, and perhaps even build some software programming skills. All of this takes extreme patience, which is something many parents have in short supply.

When properly equipped and inspired, a child will soon outdo his or her parents. That has been one of the most rewarding parts of our experience. Children can become "experts" in their own fields. Little Johnny may be able to tell friends and family all about insects, even though Mom has to force herself to smile at his latest capture. The point here is that Mom does not have to teach Little Johnny about the insect world or even like the insects. She only has to be willing to teach him how to do the research and how to write about those bugs. When researching, she should never say, "You can't check out that book, because it's above your grade level." It may be above Mom's grade level! But if she lets him check it out and learn something new, Little Johnny can explain the concepts to her in no time.

Give control to the kids. It may be scary at first, but when you see your kids beginning to read all the books they can find on their favorite topic, trust that there is real learning taking place. Reading is the most important first step and should be taught to children as soon as possible, followed by math and the rest as they mature. But if kids love reading, they will always be learning.

If you throw in intense family discussions, experiments, group projects, lots of family/homeschool group field trips, some sports, church, socializing as a family with people of all ages and cultures, and, of course, love, you will end up with a well-adjusted kid who is definitely ready for a college class or two.

Trust us, it's not as hard as it sounds.

Kip and Mona Lisa Harding were high school sweethearts in San Jose, California. Kip asked Mona Lisa to the prom and proposed a few weeks later. After four kids, they decided to turn to homeschooling, and their success paved the way for their children to start college by the age of 12 and go on to great careers in medicine, engineering, architecture, and more. The Harding family has been interviewed on "The Today Show," CNN, "Fox & Friends," "Inside Edition," and "The 700 Club," and have been featured in publications including People and The Daily Mail. They live in Montgomery, Alabama.

By Kip and Mona Lisa Harding, authors of "The Brainy Bunch"
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