Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sending Kids Back to School with a Message

In today's Chicago Parent, I felt it was the right time to talk to my kids about more than just doing homework and behaving in school.

Heading back to school can be traumatic for many parents and children.

Read about it HERE.

Shipping the boys out last year.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Contest - Week 11: Little Trees for the Lead!

When Andrea and I started The Contest, neither one of us was a stickler for deadlines, response times, or firm rules. 

As it turns out, this is a really good thing.

For me, anyway.

Remember my super-awesome post on Little Trees Air Fresheners?  The one that didn't get a response, but who-cares-because-I-love-my-minivan-trees-no-matter-what?

Turns out, they did not technically get my letter.  I may have accidentally sent it to the Ped Egg people instead.

Like I said.  I'm not known for my vast organizational skills.

Anyhoo, the swell Consumer Relations guru over at Little Trees (we'll call her "Susan"...mostly because her name is Susan) got wind of my Shakespearean pros regarding their fine air fresheners, and wouldn't you know?

BOOYAH.  5 points, bringing my total to 37.

In addition, these Perk Adjusta-Scents have me rather intrigued.

Did I mention we just got back from a week at the beach where we left dirty laundry marinating in lake water in the hot minivan for days?

I'm assuming the Perk Adjusta-Scents offer an emergency setting.

To check out the competition, be sure to visit Andrea today!  In the meantime, I will be trimming my minivan with my many, many trees.  Christmas in August, baby!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Contest - Week 10: Ped Egg

Yes, it's that time again.  Time for results of The Contest! I got super-serious this week and wrote about a pertinent summer topic - flip flop feet.  Did the Ped Egg people respond?  Find out below!


Dear Ped Egg,  

I’m not going to lie.  When I first saw your Ped Egg on a television infomercial, I laughed.  How could a miniature cheese grater  do all that?

I am not laughing now.

After several long summers spent in flip-flops walking to and from the local park with three children, my feet were approaching elephant tusk status.  Thick cracked skin and callouses frightened away even those with the most steadfast of foot fetishes. My husband started encouraging me to wear socks.

Too cheap to pay for expensive spa treatments, I thought I would just have to accept my life as a nasty-footed mom.  Glamorous strappy sandals were out.  I longed to be one of those people with more dainty and delicate feminine feet than myself…namely my husband.  So I decided to give Ped Egg a go.

After only a few short minutes of gently rubbing the Ped Egg in the advised “circular motion,” I saw PINK.  I had not seen pink or flesh-colored tones on the bottom of my feet in years.  What kind of sorcery was this?

Then, morbid curiosity took over.  What awaited inside this magic foot grater?  What remnants of humanity lingered within?  Hesitantly, I cracked open the light blue plastic container and had a look.

It was practically fairy foot dust.

Years’ worth of rough and parched foot had been relegated to fluffy little bits of powdered tootsies.  I was breathless with admiration.  Pumice stones, loufahs, and lotions could not compare to the instant results of the wondrous Ped Egg.  I giddily tried on a pair of strappy heels I had purchased pre-children (shoes  that had not seen the light of day for years).  Right then and there, I decided to never, ever take them off again. 

So thank you, Ped Egg.  Because of you, I finally have prettier feet than my husband.   Now if you have something for stretched and dangling mom stomachs, I would owe you BIG.


Marianne Walsh


Any company with a sense of humor to invent foot graters had to respond, right?

I totally scored a spare Ped Egg:

Thank you, Ped Egg.  You're one-half kitsch and one-half the real deal.

Kinda like me.

This brings my score to 32.  To check out the competition, visit Andrea HERE today!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Short in the Tooth

I wrote about how rough and tumble boys can be HERE and then this happened:

Kid cracked his tooth off (again) by WALKING into another kid.
Based on the laws of irony and serendipity, I shall most definitely write about winning the lottery tomorrow.

But if that doesn't work out, anyone know a good dental school?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monkey Love

The following appears in the August edition of Chicago Parent magazine  It was inspired by my meatball-loving son who I hope will one day forgive me for not being much of a cook.  Instead, I trust him to remember my many, many foot rubs. 

In the 1950s, famed psychologist Harry Harlow conducted a series of attachment parenting experiments using baby monkeys.  He crafted together wire mesh monkey “mothers” with milk dispensers fastened to them.  These were to serve as surrogate parents to the monkey babies.    

Harlow then tied a soft terrycloth rag around other wire mesh monkey mothers who did not have food dispensers.  Harlow found that during times of fear and anxiety, the baby monkeys would cling to their soft terrycloth mothers and not to the ones who actually fed them.
This landmark study sat in the back of my brain for over twenty years before I realized its implications. 

I am a terrycloth monkey mother.
There is no food dispenser attached to me.  My children will never look back upon their childhoods in relation to any elaborate meals or fresh-baked cookies from mom.  When my youngest son arrived home with a recipe from French class, he asked if he could call my friend, Lucy, because “she can cook, mommy!”  My middle son was undergoing speech therapy years back when he suddenly removed the mother figure from a kitchen play-board.  He immediately replaced it with the daddy figure, shaking his head emphatically to indicate mommies simply do not belong in the kitchen.

Lest anyone think I starve the boys, there are a few basics I have learned to make when my husband, who is a masterful cook, is at the firehouse.  Corn Flakes.  Tacos.  Hamburgers.
Did I mention Corn Flakes?

I hate cooking.  I do not follow directions.  The smell of raw meat is nauseating.  My kids usually turn up their noses whenever I do try a new recipe, mostly because of the whole “does not follow directions” part.
My husband dedicated a lot of time early in our marriage to help overcome my culinary deficiencies, offering patient guidance and suggestions.  Yet after almost a decade, the man now doesn’t trust me alone with a knife and onion.      

But I am cuddly.  Whenever I sit down on our couch, three boys flank me within seconds.  I scratch heads, rub feet, and offer unlimited hugs and kisses.  I adore holding hands. Sometimes, late at night, I sneak into my children’s rooms to rock them for just a few minutes before these days are gone forever.
I take consolation in Harlow’s findings that no amount of terrycloth mother love can alter the psychological damage to babies once deprivation occurs.  Hug early and often is the ultimate lesson of Harlow’s experiments.

I figure I can always learn to cook later.

Or buy Cheerios.

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Contest - Week 9: Little Trees Air Fresheners

This week's episode of The Contest contains my letter to the Little Trees air freshener people.  I do believe I'm overdue for a new tree and car wash.  Time to call hazmat.

Dear Little Trees, 

I suspect you probably have a very good handle on the existence of stinky cars and the wretched stenches within.  You know the kinds of odors I am talking about.  The ones capable of bringing even the most steadfast of minivan moms to her knees: 
  • Rotting food
  • Smelly gym shoes
  • Moldy book bags   
  • Dog poop
As the mother of three sons, my sense of smell has been so horribly assaulted over the years that I have often suggested to my husband we simply abandon our minivan and start over.  My husband’s response?

The minivan is only a few years old!  We’re still making the payments.  There is no way we are abandoning a car because you think it smells like rot.
Sadly, this comes from a man who cannot smell burning microwave popcorn three feet from his nose.  He has no credibility whatsoever.

The day I discovered your Mango Little Tree Fresheners, my life turned around.  Instead of wanting to drive my minivan off the nearest cliff, I popped in a reggae CD and let the glorious tropical scent waft through our pen-stained interior. I felt for sure that had there been a dead dog in the car, I would not have noticed.  Mango is just that powerful.  And for the record, there is not, nor has there ever been, a dead dog in my car. 

That I’m aware of. 

Some suggest that your company’s priorities are simply to make money and profit from the misfortunes of the minivan crowd.  I beg to differ.  Your little trees are obviously about the public good.  Think of all the carpool kids you have aided.  Think of the hundreds of minivan moms and their girls’ nights out - all salvaged because of you. 

You and your Little Trees. 

You have left your mark in my life like few have.  I am so lucky to have found you.  Your essence is with me forever, dangling in the review mirror and reminding me that whenever life gets stinky, there will always be sweet, sweet mango.


Marianne Walsh


As of yet, there is still no response from the Little Trees people.  I'd like to think the reason is they are coming up with new savory scents for me at this moment.  So my score remains at 27.  To check out the competition, visit Andrea now by clicking HERE!