Current Affairs Feed

My Reserve, Our Coasts: Save Our Local Resource - the JCNERR

I don't get political too often and there is good reason for it.  I don't follow politics.  I am not well versed in them.  With the way the world is now, I don't WANT to know them either, quite frankly.  What I DO know is that when something that is good for my family, the community, my friends, and the world is threatened, I will fight  for it.  

Right now, the funding for our coastal reserves is in danger due to budget cuts within several federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Our local reserve the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR) - where our children learn about our area - could be shut down.  In fact, without our help, it could be gone as early as 2018. That means research will stop.  Jobs will be lost.  Our children will lose the most convenient environmental resource available to them.

  

You probably don't realize how much you have used the JCNERR.  If you'e ever visited the Tuckerton Seaport's third floor, you should know that all that great hands-on equipment is there because of the JCNERR.  If you've ever taken a class at the Field Station, that's run by the JCNERR.  

I asked around to see how many of my local friends have utilized the resources at the JCNERR  and was so pleased to learn that SO many have taken their classes with rave reviews:

 
 
 "They have great programs there, all three of my kids have been involved over the years. What a unique opportunity to learn about our local environment! Losing funding and those programs would cheat the coming generations." - Vicki Falkinburg 
 
"I took my boys when they were little. Loved it. Austin dissected a squid when he was 7. The "build a water robot class" was amazing. We also made a birdhouse that we still use.  We went seining one day too." -Kate Janney 
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Austin and Ryan Janney with their underwater robot
 
"I took the boys there twice. We had a great time! The staff was super informative and so nice! The boys loved it. They did the underwater robot and the penguin visit."- Samantha Colandrea
 
"We went one summer and it was great. I was hoping to do one this summer for Hope. She wants to be a scientist when she grows up and loves these types programs."- Jessica Shertenlieb
 
"The kids really enjoyed all of the hands on experiences."- Maureen Tyhanic
 
"Stephen (grandson) attended the summer classes since he was in first grade until he was too old to attend. Big classes full of children learned a lot each summer."- Joan Neuroth
 
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Leanora Earle after a great class at the JCNERR

 If you have a great experience with the JCNERR. please tell everyone about it! You can comment on this post, or share it on social media using hashtag #MyReserveOurCoast.  

PLEASE read the article in the Sandpaper for more information. http://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/p/area-environmental-groups-fear-possible-federal-budget-cuts/1639182 

I know I'm not doing much justice to how important saving this program is for our future.

Find out what else you can do to save your local reserve by checking out http://www.nerra.org/my-reserve-our-coasts .  Use the hashtag #myreserveourcoasts whenever you're taking pics at the beach or visiting your local reserve!

The best thing is to get the word out that WE LOVE OUR RESERVE, OUR COASTS!  Share this article, share your experience, call your local representatives, do whatever you can.  

Thank you. 

 


...of my whole life

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Sometimes I hear young people say so-and-so was the best whatever of my whole life.  I've said it, too.  When I was younger, I didn't realize that life hadn't even started yet.  Even now, I know that telling younger people that life really doesn't start until you are well into your 20s or 30s sounds ridiculous.  Unbelievable.  Absolute garbage.  But it's true, and I wish that there was a way I could tell every young person.  But young people don't find stats as cool as I do.  They don't want to listen to an old happy person talk about the pleasure of watching their small children do homework at the kitchen table or how fulfilling it is to grow an avocado tree from a seed.  They need info quick and now and to their liking.  I often wonder if there is a way to get the point across without sounding like an old codger stumbling over "when I was your age..."

I worry.

I think kids are the same as we were when we were kids, but with different surroundings.  They know so much more about so many different things than we did.  They have access to anything they want to know within milliseconds of typing in a word.  They don't even have to finish typing that word and the world responds with information.  It's that fast.  Processing all that information can sometimes be scary and intimidating.  Their brains can sometimes be overloaded with information about things they know exist, but haven't actually participated in themselves, giving them false senses of experience. They think they are worldly.  But they are just kids.

 I try my best to step back into my own kids' shoes and remember what it was like when everything I did was the best thing of my whole life.  I remember that that statement was actually true at the time.  When I was 12 I entered a cooking contest and thought winning 2nd place was the best thing in my whole life.  Then in high school when the guy I liked called me, that was the best thing in my whole life.  

Then I think about now and how I still have the ability to say that about experiences.  What does that mean?  It means that when I was young, those experiences that were the best ones of my whole life have gotten even better.  Now I can cook for my family.  Now I am married to the man of my dreams.  These are the best things of my whole life.  

The point is, the best things keep getting better and better with age.  They don't stop once you say it once.  You can continue to have the best every single day and that best will always be better than the one before.  It's important for kids to know that.  

Bad days happen, but so do good days.  So do the BEST days.


It's OK to be happy

This post is for myself as much as it is for anyone else struggling today.  

Some days I feel like being happy isn't a good idea. I'm struggling with those emotions today.  

It happens every once in a while when all around me seems like a shit storm of terrible.  I find myself watching the news or hearing something awful during a phone call and I get a heavy sinking feeling in my chest.  The sadness is overwhelming.  What can I do?  How can I do anything in a world that doesn't seem to want to help itself?  Sadness is the only thing that everyone shares.

But then something funny will happen... like maybe a great joke slides past my cursor while I'm scrolling through Facebook or my news-oblivious son will laugh after passing gas in the living room.  

And I'll laugh.  

But then I stifle that laugh and stop myself from sharing it with anyone.  Because it's a sad day.  Sad days should be SAD.  No happiness should poke through.  It's just not right. 

Snicker.

STOP!  Today is a sad day.  Not a happy one.  There will be no laughing today.  Keep scrolling.  Don't read the jokes.  Don't have fun.  Do NOT laugh at the fact that your son just tooted again.

...And that's when the realization comes through.

WHY would we not laugh?  Why NOT be happy?  Yes, the world sucks.  Yes, people are being murdered left and right.  Yes, there is a shit storm of terrible occurring daily in the news.  

So WHAT does that mean?! That I can't smile anymore? That laughing is out the window?

NO.

It's OK to be happy.  In fact, it's GREAT to be happy.  Be happy because if you're not then what happens?  Nothing good at all.  The world becomes dark when the light completely burns out.  

Laugh when you can.  

It's OK.  

Share your happiness.  

We all need it.

Laugh


How to be a Cool Kind Kid - my review of Tanner Wants to Be COOL

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.  All opinions about Cool Kind Kid and this book are my own.

My son is in second grade.  He has always been a cool kid in my eyes.  But now that he's been in school full time for a few years he is starting to wonder for himself what being cool really means.  In a world full of bullying and people who may be less than kind in many situations, defining "cool" to a second grader can be hard.  We have always tried to instill in his little mind that being yourself is what's cool.  But there is definitely more to it than just being yourself.  Being cool has to do with how you treat others.  

I recently started working with Cool Kind Kid to help get the word out about their products that are specifically made to help define "cool".  I was happy to receive the book Tanner Wants to be COOL written by Cool Kind Kid creator Barbara Gilmour and illustrated by James J Dunn to review here on my blog.  

Tanner Wants to be COOL is the first in a series of picture books Barbara developed called You Can be a Cool Kind Kid.  This first book tackles the subject of how to be a caring, kind friend.  It's written in cartoon form with speech bubbles telling Tanner's story of how he figures out how to be a cool kid.  I love the illustrations of children who all looked different working together to help Tanner understand how to be cool by using manners and being kind to others.  Each picture teaches a different lesson while showing that cool is not synonymous with bullying or being mean to others.  

There is also a soundtrack  by Steve Megaw accompanying the book which can be downloaded for free using a special code found within the book.

After reading it myself and really enjoying the message, I thought the only way to get some proper feedback was to have my son read it, too.  He left me this little embellished note when he was done, so it MUST be a good book:

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I plan on asking my son's teacher if I can read Tanner Wants to be COOL to the class.  I think it would make a great addition to any classroom, playgroup, or home library.  It's easy to read, has wonderful engaging pictures throughout, and gets right to the point that everyone can be cool.  I am really looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series!

To get your copy of Tanner Want to be COOL for $12.95 including the FREE downloadable soundtrack visit www.coolkindkid.com.  While you are there, check out all the other great products Cool Kind Kid has to offer!  

Since October is National Bullying Prevention month, Cool Kind Kid is offering 10% off their retail products throughout the month if you use code SAYNO2BULLYING at checkout!

  


My visit to Philadelphia Magazine's Design Home 2014 with XFinity and Real Mom Media

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I was a guest of Real Mom Media for this event and was given a lovely parting gift of a Samsung tablet from XFinity before I left to go home.

Design Home PHL

Today I got to visit Philadelphia Magazine's absolutely stunning Design Home 2014.  It was AMAZING.  The house itself was gorgeous, but then they went ahead and added about a million cool techy things through XFinity/Comcast that just threw its cool factor completely over the edge for me.

The thing that floored me the most about the house was that although it had all the latest technology within, it didn't look high tech.  It looked comfortable.  Like people could actually live there within this century.  All the colors were perfect.  The floor plan flowed so smoothly, and yet there were about a million nooks and crannies all over to explore.

One of my favorite parts of the house was the lowest level which included a living room area, bar, gym, laundry room and the nanny's quarters including a bedroom and bathroom.  We were brought in to learn about XFinity's X1 system which allows you to customize your TV viewing experience throughout your home.  It seems like a pretty cool system with lots of features like:

  • the ability to record up to 12 shows at once
  • flip through the guide and watch shows that may not be on at the moment
  • make playlists of your favorite shows to play on a continuous loop

Lower Level Design Home PHLWe then took the stairs (although there WAS an elevator available, it was that immense...) all the way up to the top floor which was designed as a kids' playroom.  If I know my kids at all, this would definitely be their favorite room in the house.  Up there, we learned about XFinity wifi services and all its capabilities using hte XFinity wifi app.  Just wait, soon it will be available for use even when you are overseas!

We made our way downstairs to the kitchen... I feel like kitchen is too small a word for the place we were in.  It was more like what I have dreamed heaven might be like.  There was a ginormous marble island in the middle of the room, cabinets everywhere, a butler's pantry in the corner, a TV on the wall, and just so much more.  The dining area was across the room and had not one but two - TWO wine cabinets.  It was my favorite room in the house. Kitchen Design Home PHL

The XFinity guys were there to tell us even more about the XFinity Home at that point.  We learned that it is possible to basically set up your entire home on your tablet so you can view, adjust, fix, or turn on or off anything at all.  It can be used as a security system, a thermostat, a baby/pet monitor, a lighting adjuster, and much more!

At this point, my head was exploding with knowledge and I took a little wander off by myself to check out the rest of the house.  Let me tell you, I almost got lost in the master suite's bathroom.  But don't worry, I found my way out and was able to find all the other gems throughout the house like the upstairs laundry room, the three additional bedrooms, huge walk in closets, and did I mention there was an ELEVATOR?

I was very impressed with everything I saw today.  I wanted to get it all out right now before I went to bed or I would probably not sleep thinking about it!  

Oh, and to top it off, XFinity gave us all beautiful Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (7-Inch) as a parting gift! I couldn't have asked for a better day.

Thanks to Real Mom Media, Comcast/XFinity, and Philadelphia Magazine for a wonderful time!

If you are interested in learning more about the Design Home 2014, XFinity, Philadelphia Magazine, or Real Mom Media, please visit their webpages by clicking on the names here in this post! 

And you can view my entire album of pictures on my Whatever Works Facebook page.  

If you need me, I'll be off somewhere dreaming about laying next to the pool on a hot day...  Pool

 


Spring cleaning with Goodwill's #7DaysofSpringCleaning

This post was made possible through the support of Goodwill. All opinions are my own.

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photo courtesy of Ad Council & Goodwill

I have a hard time putting into words how I feel about material items.  There are days when I really want to leave the modern world, get rid of all my stuff and just live off the land.  But there are other days when I thoroughly enjoy the rush I get from buying some frivolous item from the dollar bin at Target.  But for the most part, I try to make sure everything I own has at least a dual purpose so that I feel as if I am getting the most out of it I possibly can.

So when it comes time to part ways with my material items, I want to make sure they are going somewhere beneficial.  If there is still some good life in an item, I will never just throw it in the trash or recycling bin without first playing matchmaker between the item and a potential new owner. Sometimes I keep items that I no longer use for much longer than I probably should simply because I can't find someone who could take them off my hands.  

Thankfully, there are organizations like Goodwill that are really doing something with all those unwanted items out there in the world.  And guess what?  Right now if you donate items during the Goodwill's #7DaysofSpringCleaning campaign, your items will be serving that dual purpose I love so much.  Your donated items will be helping in two ways: 1) Goodwill will sell your items at a reasonable cost to people who need them and then 2) they will use the money earned to provide job training for people who need it.

Check out this video that explains it a little better:

 

Cleaning out your closet or kitchen cabinets might be a little bit easier now that you know what your stuff is capable of doing out there in the big ol' world, huh?  I know it is for me.  Plus, there is a very wonderful satisfaction that comes with being able to see the closet floor every once in a while.

Oh, and if you want to see exactly how much of an impact your donations will make, you can use Goodwill's Donation Impact Calculator.  It calculates how many hours of career counseling will be available by how much you donate.  

If you are interested in donating to Goodwill, you can locate the nearest drop off point at their website using the locator map on their website.

And if you need any help in getting started, check out Goodwill's quick snapguide on how to declutter your home at http://snapguide.com/guides/clean-your-home-and-create-jobs/

Your newly decluttered home will not only give you a feeling of accomplishment, but it will also be helping your community.  Donate Stuff.  Create Jobs.  Great motto.


The Morningside Monster: Interview with writer Jayson Palmer

Me
Jayson Palmer of Blue Dusk Productions

I am so grateful for Facebook.  Not only has it introduced me to new friends, but it has brought me back in contact with old ones.  It has also given me the chance to be re-introduced to old colleagues and classmates that I had always wanted to know but never had the guts to talk to back in my early years.

When I was a kid, there was this guy who was a little younger than me named Jayson.  He lived in the same town and always seemed a bit mysterious.  I didn't know him other than a quick 'What's up?' as we passed in the hallway or sat in a random class together.  But the look on his face always told me that he was thinking about something big.  

Thanks to Facebook, I finally had the courage to say hello after all these years.  As it turns out, Jayson really WAS thinking all that time... about movies.  Horror movies, to be exact.  Over the past few years, I've been following Jayson's progress.  Not only has he written several scripts, but he started his own production company Blue Dusk Productions with his friend Chris Ethridge and is also a school teacher with a big heart.  

I am very happy to share the announcement of their latest accomplishment The Morningside Monster here on my little blog.

Per the press release:

"The Morningside Monster is the gritty, suspenseful horror/thriller from Blue Dusk Productions and Making Monster Productions.  When a series of ritualistic murders rattle the small town of Morningside, NJ, the sheriff and his deputy embark on a desperate race against time to catch the killer, pitting them against friends, enemies and even each other."

The Morningside Monster will be shown this weekend April 5 at 8:15PM at the Garden State Film Festival at Resorts in Atlantic City, NJ.  You can buy tickets directly from the link.

 

I was able to interview Jayson to get a little more insight into the movie and his life as a writer, teacher, and movie maker.  Here's what we talked about:

 How long have you been in the horror movie biz?

Jayson: I have been writing and making my own films for as long as I can remember. At some point in my early childhood, I had hijacked my father's old video gear, grabbed the kids in the neighborhood and started making films.

My first "official" break in the industry came back in 1998 when I was introduced to director Michael P. Russin. He was looking to do a horror anthology called "Creepy Tales" and needed a third story. I happen to have one called, "Daria 13" that fit the bill and just like that, I was a "professional" writer.

Russin and I went on to work together on a few more features, shorts and music videos. He is a great guy and friend.

But I needed a life change. So, I moved to Atlanta in 2006. At a film festival here I met guy named Chris Ethridge. Him and I hit it off pretty well. We created Blue Dusk Productions and our first feature together, "The Morningside Monster".   

Being that you are also a teacher... How do you balance both parts of your life?

 Jayson: I wouldn't say there's necessarily any balancing I do. There is a lot of cross over between the two. I work with children mainly ages three to eleven, which I love. They are still in that age of wonder and discovery. Children have a way of creating beautiful art through the most abstract materials. I think a lot of us as adults have either forgotten how or are afraid to do that. Sometimes it is better to color outside the lines. I try and remember that as a writer.

Do your students know about your movie career? 

Jayson: Yeah, my older students know. One of the activities we do each year is make movies. I try and teach them the basics of film making. They write their own scripts, pick their cast, learn to work the camera, edit... The whole deal. At the end of the year we hold a family dinner night where the children cook a meal for their relatives. After the meal we have a screening of all the films the children have made during the year. It's a blast!

What made you choose Morningside, NJ as the setting for the movie? 

Jayson: I am a Jersey boy, through and through. I was born in Dover and raised in Wharton, which is a small blue collar town in North, central Jersey. I have a lot of love for that small little town. Morningside is based on Wharton. Or at least the town how I remembered it growing up. 

I spent many days as a child exploring the alleys, empty buildings and especially the woods surrounding the town. I think as a kid you can do that kind of stuff. Now, I would probably be arrested for trespassing.

 Those experiences in that town certainly have inspired a lot of my stories. So, I wouldn't be surprised if Morningside popped up now then in some future project.   

Who is your favorite character? 

Jayson: That's a hard question to answer. A screenplay changes a lot from paper to the screen. Each actor breathes their own life into the characters you create, which is one things I love about film. The cast in this film is amazing! 

Picking a favorite character is kind of like asking to pick a favorite child. Even though one may be a brat and the other angel, you love them equally.


I am someone who is afraid of horror movies. What do I need to prepare for?

Jayson: Keeping the night light on for a while.

...that's what I was afraid of.  

Thank you, Jayson for the awesome interview.  Can't wait to see The Morningside Monster this weekend!  


Snippets of the past few years

I was just going through to see if I had any old, unpublished posts on here that I could work on finishing today.  As it turns out, I don't think I want to finish any of them.  And I don't want to leave them sitting there all alone by themselves in the blogging abyss either.  So, here are the snippets of unfinished posts for you to enjoy.  Or delete.  Or whatever.  They are all related and unrelated at the same time.

Whatever happened to birthDAYS? - Oct 10, 2011

We've been celebrating my daughter's birthday for about 4 days now.  No reason.  It's not a "special" birthday or anything.  No milestones to report.  No fantastic news attached with it.  It's just the birthday that never seems to end.  It started with the mandatory school cupcakes.  Then birthday dinner.  After that was the kid party that night.  Then came the family visit with presents and cakes and fun galore.  We were afforded a small break in between events that some like to call "sleep", but for me it was more like "lay in bed and figure out how to dye a Pringle orange so it matches the bill of Perry the Platypus so I could use it on yet another cake."  It was all one big run-on sentence.

Contrary to popular belief- Oct 31, 2011

Contrary to popular belief, I love animals.  I think bunnies are the cutest things alive.  I won't intentionally kill an insect unless it's biting me or someone close to me.  We have bird feeders outside that I love to look at during the cardinals' feeding times.  I love animals just as much as I love people.  That's the main reason I don't want a pet.

I've had pets before...bunnies, guinea pigs, fish, parakeets.  They were all hard work, and I loved them.  I was so sad when they all passed away.  They were all members of my family.  It was heartbreaking to watch each and every one of them fall asleep and never wake up.  Having a pet is the same to me as having another child. 

Predicting the future- March 16, 2012 

I wonder if my parenting instincts are right.  Every once in a while, I catch a glimpse of what I think my kids will look like as teenagers or even adults.  I also envision them acting in certain ways when they're older.  I wonder how much of it will come true. 

My daughter currently is much deeper into her emotional side than I thought 8 year olds could be. My son is a wack-a-do.  He's only 3, so he's got time.

Things that will never change- March 30, 2012

Chip bags will never be closed properly resulting in forever stale chips.

dirty socks on couch

"I know"

clothes on bedroom floor

toothpaste in sink

What blogging has done for me- Oct 1, 2012

When I first started blogging, I thought I may have finally found a great avenue for my brain spillage.  I could write down some of my thoughts to see if anyone else shared similar ones with me.  I had no idea it could possibly lead to everything it has so far.  

Over the past year and a half, blogging has given me something much more than just an outlet for my innermost thoughts.  

Stay away from the news- Oct 26,2012

I try my best to stay away from the news.  I know, I know... I'm supposed to stay abreast of wordly things and know what's going on around me.  But do I, really?  Lately the news has gotten so bad that my head hurts constantly.  I don't sleep and when I do I wake up with a large crease between my eyebrows from apparently horrific dreams.

I've decided to focus more on that  "around me" bit.  There are so many things going on around me in a MUCH closer vacinity that I should concern myself with.  Bye bye news.  

Talking with God- November 15, 2012

I've been talking with God a lot lately.  As everyone who watches the news knows, we had a terrible storm here almost two weeks ago that ripped apart a lot of shore towns, left northern town without power- some who still don't have it- and just shocked everyone.  Shocked.  Numb.  Sad.  

I rush around like an ant trying to help rebuild my community one little grain of sand at a time.  Everyone acts the same. We all go right to work.  No one is slacking.  Yes, there are some unscrupulous people trying to take advantage of the situation by selling back donated items to stores and taking too many pillows, but they are few.  The majority just want their homes back to normal.

I feel guilty for having a bubble placed around me.  No damage.  No nothing.  My children are safe.  I can still go get my hair done and go about my life the way I normally have in the past.  But I can't.  Someone told me the term is "survivor's remorse".  I like that better than guilt.  I'm not guilty of anything... I'm just feeling remorseful.  

Blogging- July 18, 2013

Every time I sit down to write here, I think of an episode of House I watched a long time ago.  Laura Prepon played a blogger back when blogging was sort of new-ish.  Her blog was basically a public daily journal that had many followers.  She wrote in it religiously which made her husband (boyfriend?  I don't remember) question her actions.  Why did she feel that she had a connection with people she didn't even know in real life?  Why did she write there so much?  

I think I figured it out.  

Same day- July 18, 2013

Today I can't shake the feeling that something is wrong.  Who? Where?  What?  I don't know.  But my gut is telling me something needs to change.

I have been inside the past three days writing my face off...trying to meet deadlines...trying to get everything done.  Am I missing something out there?  

Purpose- Oct 23, 2013

I have always had a very hard time buying or owning items that do not have more than one purpose.  One of the two (or more) purposes of each item has to be one that is actually physically useful.  The next requirement is that the item makes me happy.  Anything else is gravy.  

So some of the normal things that happen in life don't come as easily for me.  Everything I do has some sort of purpose.  In some cases, that purpose may only be known to me and it may seem strange to outsiders looking in.  And that purpose might not be relavent in the grand scheme of life, but it is important to me at the time.

So that's it.  That's all my unfinished thoughts over the past few years.  I don't have as many answers as I wish I did.  But sometimes just getting those thoughts out of my head and into the world help get me on my way.  Thank you to anyone who read this post.  I really appreciate it.

 


Lemonade for a cure to cancer. Let's do this.

I have this beautiful friend named Trish.  Not only is she a fantastic mother of three, a writer with wonderful talent, and owner of the blog Yoke she is an ambassador for Alex's Lemonade Stand.  After learning her daughter Lily had a cancerous brain tumor at 14 months-old and watching her endure several surgeries and treatments, Trish made it her priority to try her best to stop this cancer from hurting any more families out there.  Here is her story:

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Beautiful Lily
When life gives you lemons. . .you make Alex's Lemonade!

When my daughter was first diagnosed with a brain tumor, I knew nothing about Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer (ALSF). Then one morning in June while she was upstairs at the Children's Hospital of Phildelphia in the PICU recovering from brain surgery, I went downstairs to buy a cup of lemonade.
  
CHOP was buzzing with excitement--it was the ALSF annual Lemonade Days.   I, however,  was in a bad place. The day before Lily had complications during a procedure. I hated the world. I hated everything and everyone. I was spent. 
  
Then I heard Liz Scott speak. I only remember one word that Liz said:
  
Hope.
  
Hearing this amazing woman and mother, who lost her child, tell me to have hope, saved me. 
  
My daughter Lily is  7-year-olds and a brain tumor survivor. She was diagnosed when she was 14-months old, after weeks of throwing up. Her pediatrician kept diagnosing a GI bug and a bladder infection. Finally, we begged for more answers and we were sent to the emergency room at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
  
Within 30 minutes we had our answer: a brain tumor. 

Those are two words, you never, ever want to hear as a parent.
 
Lily has endured multiple brain surgeries, seven weeks of proton radiation and continued therapies to help improve her motor skills and strengthen her muscles. Brain surgery damaged Lily's overall muscle tone and coordination. Therapy and hard work has brought Lily full circle. The little girl who once could not walk, now runs and tumbles and dances.  She is a shining beacon of hope and strength and love. 

But we know that Lily's battle is not unique.  Everyday, 46 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer. Everyday, 46 mothers and fathers learn that their child will begin the fight for their lives. Seven children die everyday at the hands of childhood cancer. 

46 children is 46 too many.  The suffering has to stop. 

It is because of these children that our family holds an Alex's Lemonade Stand to support ALSF every year.  For the past five years, our family has hosted a Lemonade Stand in our front yard and online to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. 

Childhood cancer research is consistently underfunded and under researched. But ALSF is working to change that. Since 2004, the foundation has made a major impact--raising over $50 million for research.  It all started with Alex--a little girl who was really sick and really wise. Alex knew that every penny counts and every donation adds up. 

This year, our family aims to raise $10,000 for a cure to all forms of childhood cancer. It is an enormous goal--but it is one we hope to reach with the help of kind and generous friends. 
Every donation--whether $5 or $50 counts.  
When you buy a cup (or 100 cups, please!), you will be sipping in the beautiful stories of some of my favorite people in the world, my heroes. In honor of all those children, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who fight, have fought and will continue to sell lemonade for their friends, until cures for pediatric cancer are found, I ask, I beg you to raise a glass to these amazing blessings. 

 Together, we will beat childhood cancer, one icy cold, sweet cup of lemonade at a time!

To donate to Lily's stand:

Remember, every single bit helps!  Thank you for your support.


Advanced Auto Parts Monster Jam: Path of Destruction Tour- GIVEAWAY!

 

Zombie13_04
Zombie photo courtesy of Feld Auto Parts

If you have been following my blog, you know that I am a huge fan of Monster Jam.  My family and I have gone to two shows and loved every minute.  I have also been fortunate enough to give some tickets away in the past to you guys.  

I am happy to report that I am able to do it again!

Monster Jam is a great experience for people of all ages.  The drivers are hugely in tune with their fans and love to make the show as interactive as they can.  They make their way into the stands and hang out for pictures before the show in a Pit Party designed to get you up close and personal with the trucks and drivers.

On June 15th, Advanced Auto Parts Monster Jam: Path of Destruction Tour will be at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.  This event is second only to World Finals in Las Vegas as the trucks and drivers competing at MetLife are considered to be some of the biggest stars of Monster Jam.  I want you to be there to check it out!  Per the press release:

More than 4,000 tons of dirt will be brought inside both iconic stadiums along with 50 crush cars, vans and buses to create the vast Monster Jam Path of Destruction racing track and freestyle course, only to be destroyed by these massive Monster Jam trucks.  

Scheduled to compete at both stadiums are Grave Digger®, Max-DSM, Advance Auto Parts Grinder SM, Monster Energy, Lucas Oil Crusader SM, Son-uva Digger®, Grave Digger The Legend®, Monster MuttSM Dalmatian, El Toro Loco®, Madusa®, Iron Man™, Mohawk Warrior®, and Team Hot Wheels® Firestorm®.

In addition to this stacked field of Monster Jam trucks, ZombieSM, El DiabloSM and Scooby-DooTM will be making their first ever appearances at M&T Bank Stadium and MetLife Stadium as part of the Monster Jam Path of Destruction summer events.  

You don't want to miss it!

As a great way to welcome the new trucks, I thought we could make this giveaway a little more fun than just a normal "leave a comment" or "tweet this post" giveaway.  I want you to get in the spirit of the Zombie truck and take a pic of yourself or your family doing your best zombie impression.  Send it to me at cynthialeemom@yahoo.com and I will post it here!  You can add additional entries by filling out the rafflecopter form below & completing the tasks required, but the photo is mandatory to be entered into the contest.  Once all entries are in, I will pick one at random to win a family 4 pack of tickets to the June 15th show!

Best of luck to you. I hope you win!  Contest ends 6/10/2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Even if you don't win, tickets to the show are still available at monsterjam.com.  
Total Access Pass - $125 All Seats
VIP - $50 All Seats
Regular Tickets- $35 Adults / $15 Kids (ages 2 - 12)  - all tickets will be $2 more at the door.

Disclosure: I have been given tickets to give away, but have not received any compensation to write this post.  All opinions and love for Monster Jam are my own.