Monday, March 31, 2008
An ongoing conversation in our household is when/if we can get a dog. My younger daughter really, really, really wants a dog, mommy....but my older daughter is allergic to most (if not all) breeds. This weekend, we visited Brent, Fitz, and their dogs, Sophie (pictured above) and Rocky (who looks like Toto from the Wizard of Oz). Sophie is the sweetest, and my girls were all over her....but Benadryl was necessary, so I'm afraid there's no pit bull in our future. I've heard that there are certain breeds like cockapoos and wheaton terriers that don't shed and are thought to be less likely to trigger an allergic reaction. We try to expose my daughter to different breeds to test her allergies....maybe we should visit an American Animal Care Center to learn more about the best breeds for allergic kids, and borrow one for a weekend to test it out.
- EntreCard drives traffic to my blog
- EntreCard is fun -- it gives me a whole new set of blogs to read and enjoy. While I have my favorites on BlogExplosion, it starts to feel "same old, same old" and the EntreCard experience is refreshing....and addicting.
Oh, and a note to our visitors from BlogExplosion -- the two are totally compatible. You can "drop" your EntreCard while surfing via BlogExplosion, voting for me in Battle of the Blogs, or zooming in on a Blog Rocket. More bang for the buck!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
We made it home in time to see the last half of the Kansas-Davidson game. I had been expecting it to be a blowout....Kansas has been playing well, and while Davidson is a highly academic small liberal arts college, it's not really much bigger than the ultrasound tech school we passed on Route 287. Rex tells me that Davidson plays in Division III in all of its other sports, so it is unusual that they were able to attract a player like Stephen Curry, whose dad played pro ball.
I missed the first half driving home, but apparently Davidson led for most of the first half, and Kansas was in the middle of a 7-2 run to take the lead when I turned the TV on. Great basketball for the rest of the game, with Kansas squeaking out a 59-57 victory....only devastating that Curry did not take the last shot of the game. If he had, the outcome could have been dramatically different. Maybe it's better this way, since I picked Kansas to make it to the Final Four in my less-than-perfect bracket, and even though I missed out on the $5 million from Yahoo! I still have a shot at a thousand bucks in my friend's office pool.
The consolation for Davidson is that we were all impressed that they got this far, and that Stephen Curry is just a sophomore and plans to return for his junior season. Curry may be hitting NBA 3-pointers, but at least for now, he's not going pro....neither as an NBA player nor an ultrasound technologist. We'll hope Cinderella returns to the dance next year.
Blowing chunks in Beauquard's car
We're much closer now
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
OUCH! A Texas woman who said she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane called for an apology by federal security agents and a civil rights investigation. Now, I have to admit that I don't have intimate experience with this topic, but I do have pierced ears and pliers wouldn't seem necessary....
"The conduct of TSA was cruel and unnecessary," Piercing Lady wrote. "The last time that I checked a nipple was not a dangerous weapon." Roxiticus Desperate Husbands (and Madonna) beg to differ....
If you came here looking for March Madness Second Chance bracket contests, the Sweet Sixteen started last night, so you're too late to get in on the action. Unfortunately for me, I picked West Virginia to beat Xavier in all five of my Yahoo! million dollar brackets. However, if you've still got a chance, you can click here to check your Yahoo! million dollar second chance bracket but I bet you'll laugh if you watch this video first. Search YouTube for "Ooh Girl!" or "Man in the Box" for more great laughs.
If you came here looking for haiku, click here.
Thanks to Jaded Sunburns for the laugh.
- Roxiticus Desperate Housewives Directories: will include directories of the Best of Mendham, NJ; Best of Bernardsville, NJ; Best of Chester, NJ; Best of Far Hills, NJ; Best of Peapack-Gladstone, NJ; Best of Morris County, NJ; and Best of Somerset County, NJ. Given the other content here at the original Roxiticus Desperate Housewives, I thought it best to create a place for readers who come looking for "toddler ballet class" who might not want to be exposed to Eliot Spitzer scandals and nipple piercing posts....although there's not much here that you won't find on CNN or MSNBC!
- Bay Head New Jersey: Bay Head seems so far away with blustery winds here in the Roxiticus Valley on the eve of Spring and about two months to go before we open our beach house, but over the next 6-8 weeks, I will post all of the good stuff the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives do for fun in Bay Head, NJ. And maybe some photos, too. A long, long time ago (15 years maybe?) I saw this movie....I think it was called Smoke....and every day this guy comes out of his shop and takes a picture of the same scene. Of course, every day the photo is just a little bit different. Ever since then, I've wanted to do that, take the "same" picture every day. I started to do it one summer, but of course, unlike the guy in the movie, I'm never really in the same place 365 days in a row.
- Makin' the Bacon: Since I've spent a lot of time surfing other people's blogs to get idea for Roxiticus Desperate Housewives, I have started to learn a bunch of tricks for making money by blogging. My new blog, Makin' the Bacon Online, will be devoted to helping others to earn money online.
- Laguna Beach Blog: While Rex and I, and later the kids, have been visiting Laguna Beach forever, we can hardly claim that Laguna Beach, California is part of the Roxiticus Valley and I thought it was time to give Laguna Beach a space and a blog of its own. I'm hoping to find the time to work on a thorough Best of Directory for Laguna Beach and Orange County, CA: shopping, restaurants, kid stuff....all the things we like to do when we visit every year.
- The Daily Soup takes its name from something they do in my daughter's first grade class. In first grade, it is actually The Daily Scoop, but my faulty hearing caused me to hear it as The Daily Soup. I'm going to use this Rated G blog for daily posts such as Vocabulary Word of the Day, Thought for the Day, Book of the Day, Song of the Day, Quote of the Day, etc.
- Roxiticus Book Blog: Since the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives and our kids love to read, I thought it was time to give Books We Love a space and a blog of its own. I'll do my best to divide it into books for kids and books for grown-ups, with reviews and comments by moms and kids.
Compare Life Insurance
The Roxiticus Desperate Housewives are starting to think about summer camp, and I'll do my best to cover the camps my kids have tried, and the ones my friends recommend.
Mendham Township Elementary School Pathways to Learning Summer Camp:
For starters, I can highly recommend the Mendham Township Elementary School Pathways to Learning Summer Camp that (soon-to-be-former) Superintendent Christine Johnson launched last summer. Last year, my girls attended the camp's first two weeks in July and begged me to go back for the final week in August. The MTES Cub Camp was the perfect way for my rising kindergartner to get to know some of the other kids she'd be in class with in September, and to get to know her way around the elementary school ahead of time. Camp is open to all children (from rising kindergartners through eighth grade) in Mendham Township and the surrounding communities.
This year, the Pathways to Learning Camp is back at MTES, running June 24 through August 1st with expanded hours (8:30am - 2:00pm). Campers are grouped by grade levels in order to provide appropriate activities and meaningful experiences.
- Cub Camp - For students entering Kindergarten in September 2008
- Junior Tiger Camp - For students entering 1st and 2nd grades in September 2008
- Tiger Camp - For students entering 3rd and 4th grades in September 2008
- Bulldog Camp - For students entering 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grades in September 2008
Campers will spend an action packed week or weeks (you can sign up for 1 week or all 6 weeks or any number in between) engaged in activities such as creative fitness & sports games, visual and performing arts, challenges & contests to build teamwork & personal leadership skills, technology, theme days, literacy and math enrichment & skills reinforcement, and hands-on science projects. Certified teachers, district administrators, and junior camp counselors will staff the camp. In addition, a certified nurse will be on-site at all times. The MTES camp sounds "educational" but my girls never felt like they were in school, they were having too much fun!
Transportation and food services are also available at an extra cost. My kids won't eat anything but mom's home-made peanut butter and honey sandwiches, but there's a round-trip (or one way) bus option that I'll probably try this year. Last year, we signed up for it but cancelled the bus trip when they wanted my kids on the bus at 8:10am for a 9:00am start, so I dread the possibility that this year's bus ride could start at 7:30 in the morning. We are not morning people!
Camp tuition is $269 per 5-day week, $218 for 4-day (holiday) weeks, or you can pay $1,490 to register for all six weeks. The MTES Pathways to Learning Summer Camp is a great value if you don't need full-day day care. At some of the "country club" camps mentioned below, you could pay $1,000 for one week of camp.
Annie's Playhouse Summer Stars:
My girls also attended the Annie's Playhouse Summer Stars camp for three weeks last summer, and we'll do that again this year. The camp runs 8 weeks, from June 16th to August 8th. Most importantly the show, where your kids sing and dance and show off what they've learned, is Friday, August 1st. Phone: (908) 658- 3002.
Bad News on the West Morris YMCA Backyard Pool Program:
No, it's not a day camp, but it's what my girls do on summer afternoons. For three summers now, my kids have had private swimming lessons in our backyard pool. The West Morris YMCA sends out a high school or college kid who's passed their lifeguarding tests and the kids learn at their own level on their own turf (or surf, as it were). Unfortunately, due to rising gasoline costs, the West Morris YMCA has cancelled their Backyard Pool Program for the Summer of 2008. I will look into alternative programs and post them here.
All of the Usual Suspects:
Of course, all of the usual Roxiticus Desperate Housewives "kid stuff" suspects have summer programs. Check out Randolph Gymnastics, Garden State Ballet, and Pavan's Munchkin Tennis Academy at the Fox Chase Tennis Club (no web site, phone 908-879-5231).
Word of Mouth Summer Camps, Untested by this Roxiticus Desperate Housewife:
We have friends who swear by Harbor Hills Day Camp in Randolph, NJ. Since I have an nanny (remember, I'm an investment banker, not really a housewife), I'm not really interested in putting my kids on a bus at 8 in the morning and not seeing them again until 4 or 4:30pm. However, if you're looking for a full day camp with round-trip bus service and all the "country club" extras your kids can imagine (swimming, bungee jumping, go carts, etc.), Harbor Hills may be the place for you.
Hi-Hills Day Camp at Gill St. Bernards is right down the street from us in Gladstone, NJ. Cheaper than Harbor Hills but not quite as luxurious, Hi-Hills does offer horseback riding.
Meadowbrook Country Day Camp in Long Valley, NJ is another option if you're looking for full day care, want to spend a bit less than you would at Harbor Hills, and want your kids to have a more outdoorsy camp experience (e.g., fishing instead of bungee jumping).
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The Mendham Township Schools host their annual Strawberry Festival on Saturday, June 7, 2008 at the Mendham Township Elementary School on West Main Street in Brookside, NJ. This annual day of family fun will feature games for all ages:
- Nail, hair, and face painting
- Tattoos (temporary, I'm guessing....)
- Basket raffle
- Bake sale
- Police demos, and,
- Of course....strawberry shortcake!!!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
- AOL launched their Second Chance Sweet Sixteen Contest on Monday, March 24th. I just went there to fill in my new brackets and noted that "there is no prizing in AOL 2008 Second Chance Challenge." At AOL, we'd be in it for the pride, not the prize....so skip down like I did to the Yahoo! contest....while the odds of winning may be one in a bajillion, there's still a million bucks at stake!
- Yahoo! will let you register for their Second Chance Bracket Contest right now (to make you feel better about your busted bracket), but you can't start to fill in your Sweet Sixteen bracket until all of the teams are determined on Monday, March 24th. I should mention in bold that Yahoo appears to be offering one million dollars in their Second Chance contest!! The eligible Entrant that correctly identifies all of the following will be declared the $1 million Grand Prize winner: (1) the winning team for each of the 15 Final Games; (2) the Total Half-Time Score of the Championship Game; and 3) the Final Score for each team playing in the Championship Game. In the event no Entrant correctly identifies each of the foregoing (i.e., the correct winning teams for all fifteen (15) of the Final Games as well as the Total Half-Time Score and the Final Scores for each team of the Championship Game), the Grand Prize will not be awarded. Seems like better odds than the "one in a quintillion" quoted for a perfect bracket starting with 64 teams....
- CBS continues to offer huge cash prizes like $500 and $750 in its Round by Round Brackets contest. That's about as exciting as a fleece vest from John McCain.
I should probably clarify that I have only listed contests that are free, free, free, with no strings attached. If you're open to giving up bank account & credit card information, making a deposit for your online gambling future, and receiving a lifetime supply of bikini girl calendars, Vegas Watch has compiled another list of March Madness contests, as well as a fascinating analysis of the odds of a perfect bracket....roughly 1 in 7.2 trillion. Maybe I should focus on New Jersey's MegaMillions jackpot instead.
While she's in the ladies room
She will never know
"Will we be on bicycles?"
'Lissa asks, "Will we fly?"
Dave tried to warn us
But we saved E.T.'s planet
Then went to Spago
Hair boys to the right
Not a split end in the house
Live at the Roxy
Tie your mother down
And here I am in a suit
And faux pearl earrings
'Lissa in disgust
I'm a lemon custard tarte
Some things never change
Could this be my lucky day?
Don't hold your breath, pal
Stations in receivership
Got what he deserved
I don't like people
I had a happy childhood
When I was asleep
Woman at the bar
Uterus on her jacket
Please put it away
Bree not putting out
Haiku that meets Dave's standards
I'm no Kerouac
Dear Governor Paterson,
I am unable to write to you in Braille (this is a blog, after all), so I hope your swingin' wife will read this missive to you on a day when she's not off enjoying herself with your best friend or former NJ Governor McGreevy (or his ex-wife, Dina -- the options are endless). On the day you were sworn in, perhaps in honor of St. Patrick's Day, you regaled reporters, politicians, and fellow Americans with tales of your tawdry family affairs during a troubled period in your marriage. Now, just a week later, you're sharing your marijuana and cocaine stories from your mis-spent youth.
Dave, may I call you Dave? I'm going to suggest that, instead of revealing another titillating tidbit about your private life next Monday, you become part of the peaceful revolution in consciousness and value that is sweeping our planet. The Sedona Method is the technique for a new earth that will show you how to transcend the ego. You can live life now free of unnecessary suffering and stop imposing suffering on others, including the New Yorkers who have had enough scandal for the foreseeable future. There's a free DVD and CD, Dave....be happier and feel more peaceful with the Sedona Method instead of becoming yet another gubernatorial punch line for the writers on Saturday Night Live. As they say on the pizza boxes, you've tried all the rest, Governor Paterson, why don't you give the Sedona Method a try?
All the best, and what's best for you....
It all closes at midnight
It's their bloody way
License, registration please
I have no excuse
Mister State Trooper
I would have been really mad
If you hit my car
Some of my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers may remember how upset I was when Candy retracted her invitation to my little girls to be flower girls at her wedding. Brent and Fitz (who weren't even invited!) certainly got an earful. The excuse Candy gave us for her dear cousins' demotion from flower girls to just plain guests was that, because money was tight, there would be no bridal party other than her sister and Tad's siblings. Absolutely no flower girls or ring bearers. Then we all received her Contemporary Wedding Invitations noting the happy couple's wedding web site, where we found pictures of the hideous flower girl and ring bearers to be! I was so angry I tried to post a link to "Junie B. Jones: Almost a Flower Girl" on the wedding site, but the wedding site adminstrator never approved my comment...imagine that. What I think happened was that Tad's family offered to pay for the wedding as long as only members of Tad's family were front and center in the wedding party. As several of my friends have commented, "If those were the terms of my engagement, I would RUN in the opposite direction!" There is just something so wrong about lying to children, especially when they were going to be eyewitnesses to the flower girl and ring bearers at the wedding.
I might have suggested that Candy and Tad design their own 1st Class Wedding Invitations. There's a site that makes it easy to customize the style, colors and message. There are beach/ocean, florals, destination, cherubs, castle and fairytale themes... I'm sure there'd even be a way for Candy and Tad to highlight their betrayal. Instead, I just bought my Spanx and a gorgeous feathery flapper style dress, found stunning dresses for my beautiful non-flower-girls, and set out to have a good time.
In the end, Candy's wedding was lovely, the girls had a good time out on the dance floor at the reception, and I learned that my children don't hold a grudge the way their mom does. But Grandmom wondered why we had no pictures of the bridal party for her wedding album.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Let's have some guesses as to what makes an Easter housewife.....is it like a football widow?
Sunday, March 23, 2008
- Texas (2) squeaked by Miami (7), 75-72.
- Tennessee (2) beat Butler (7), 76-71 in overtime.
- West Kentucky (12) beat San Diego (13), 72-63.
Three more great games going on right now....could someone please come over and take Grandmom home so I can watch the rest of the basketball?
Grandma: She's NOT a Hoya, but she just doesn't understand what all this Madness is about!
My kindergartner is past the three-letter-word books (like The Bob Books, which I highly recommend for pre-schoolers) and is on the verge of reading chapter books like her older sister, but not quite....so we found several easy reader chapter books that I will post here soon.
The books my girls like to read (or have read to them) are an interesting combination of old favorites from my childhood (e.g., Charlotte's Web, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing), new stories from my old favorite writers (e.g., the Amber Brown series by Paula Danziger), and new stories from new writers (e.g., Junie B. Jones).
FYI on Mendham Books....they do not appear to have their own web site, but Mendham Books is located in the Kings shopping center. Mendham Books Phone is 973-543-4949.
Over the past six or seven years, I have earned over $8000 towards my daughters' future college expenses with Upromise. Other than the large amounts I earned by refinancing two mortgages, it come a few dollars at a time through online shopping or a few pennies at a time based on everyday grocery store purchases.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
- UCLA (1) squeezed by Texas A&M (9), 53-49.
- Wisconsin (3) beat Kansas State (11), 72-55.
- Xavier (3) struggled but put away Purdue (6), 85-78.
- Stanford (3) defeated Marquette (6), 82-81 in overtime.
- Washington State (4) beat Notre Dame (5), 61-41.
- Kansas (1) beat UNLV (8), 75-56.
- Michigan State (5) beat Pitt (4), 65-54, in a game that was closer than the final score would lead you to believe.
- The big upset, as noted earlier: West Virginia (7) surprised Duke (2), 73-67, and the Mountaineers are on their way to the Sweet Sixteen!
While the Roxiticus Desperate Tomboy Mother has no idea where my girls got the ballet gene, I have developed quite a bit of experience and wisdom about ballet, for pre-schoolers on up to high-schoolers, over the past five years.
My youngest daughter started ballet at age 3.5 when we first moved out here to the Roxiticus Valley from the West Village in NYC. We went to a place called Showcase Studios in Far Hills, NJ. While my daughter enjoyed dressing up in a leotard and tutu and "making cookie dough" and "dancing like fairies," we didn't take it very seriously, it was just for fun. Good thing. Despite the pressure, we didn't sign up for the recital or the accompanying $300 costumes etc. Two weeks before the recital, Showcase Studios was evicted...no more lessons, no recital.
The next year, we "started over" at Art of Dance in Chester, NJ. This time both girls signed up for ballet class. I think all of my friends have tried Art of Dance for some period of time, but no one stays on....my girls just didn't have much fun there, and in pre-school, that's what ballet classes should be all about. Again, we thankfully skipped the recital....waaaay too much make-up and kinda trashy costumes.
In September 2006, both girls and one of their best gal pals signed up for the baby blue pre-ballet class (4 and 5 year-olds, I believe) at Garden State Ballet. When I learned that the recital was on Father's Day, I was all set to skip another year's recital...but I'm glad I didn't. At the recital, each class performed a basic routine and we snapped pictures of our little darlings. After a brief intermission, the stronger dancers returned to demonstrate almost professional skill in modern dance. While my daughters may or may not continue to dance as they get older, if they do, Garden State Ballet is the right place for a serious dancer.
I don't know about you, but when I paid $5,000 to have my house painted last year, I thought I got a deal. My Bestest Pal told me that joke a few years back, and it is one of the few I can remember from start to punch line. While hookers and governors are getting plenty of attention lately here in the Roxiticus Valley, I'm not sure that Gulf oysters are getting the attention they deserve. There's a web site -- BeOysterAware.com -- dedicated to educating the oyster consuming public. While I can't stand the thought of raw shellfish, these folks have put together a number of delicious recipes that I can't wait for Rex to try this summer at the beach.
March Madness: Villanova Rocks Clemson, 75-69. Fourth Big Upset in Tampa Makes NCAA History, Busts Brackets.
West Kentucky (12) upset Drake (5) in overtime, 101-99.
San Diego (13) upset UConn (4) in overtime, 70-69.
Siena (13) stunned Vanderbilt (4), 83-62.
For the record, here are the rest of the scores:
- Tennessee (2) beat American University (15), 72-57.
- Davidson (10) upset Gonzaga (7), 82-76.
- Miami FL (7) beat St. Mary's (10), 78-64.
- Butler (7) beat South Alabama (10), 81-61.
- Georgetown (2) beat UMBC (15), 66-47.
- Texas (2) beat Austin Peay (15), 74-54.
- UNC (1) obliterated Mount St. Mary's (16), 113-74.
- Mississippi State (8) beat Oregon (9), 76-69.
- Oklahoma (6) beat St. Josephs (11), 72-64.
- Arkansas (9) defeated Indiana (8), 86-72.
- Louisville (3) beat Boise State (14), 79-61.
- Memphis (1) blew by Texas-Arlington (16), 87-63.
Well, maybe its just that I've chosen the wrong sport. While I love that March Madness time of year and look forward to spending the whole month drinking beer while glued to my large-screen TV, I'm just not very good at predicting the winners and losers to score a perfect bracket. Now that Spring is here, I'm thinking about trying my hand at fantasy baseball. Of course, most of my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers understand that my idea of fantasy baseball is the 1978 New York Yankees under Billy Martin: Mickey Rivers, Thurman Munson, Chris Chambliss, Willie Randolph, Graig Nettles, Lou Piniella, and yes, oh yes, Bucky Dent. Now that's what I call fantasy baseball!
Given my limited success with March Madness, I don't think an amateur baseball fantasizer like me could go into the season hoping to dominate a fantasy baseball league without a little (well, a lot of) help. Luckily, Fantasy Sports Prophet is available to help, with Web-based fantasy baseball software you can access from anywhere. Its player rankings are based on predictive modeling by PhD scientists. It has an advanced draft assistance tool with all the data needed to make the right decision about any player (I was sooo right about you, Bucky!). Full season roster management includes updated mid-season projections via artificial intelligence, and all the stats, injury reports and major updates a baseball fantasizer needs to win the league.
With a whole new sports season stretching out in front of us with big winnings to be had by dominating the fantasy baseball league, now is the time to get started. Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers can use promo code BMC200 to get $10 off. Ladies, the guys will never know what hit them....
Friday, March 21, 2008
This is the Roxiticus Desperate Refrigerator, stocked for March Madness.
I found some oyster recipes online that I may ask Rex to try this summer, in addition to our usual clams. Rex will eat oysters (and clams) raw, but I prefer my clams grilled or steamed, and my oysters cooked....fried, in stew, even in ceviche. Grilled oysters, oysters alfredo, oyster cakes (like crab cakes, I guess), oyster dip, ....so many ways to be oyster aware! While my girls have already established themselves as "Jedi clam eaters," if Rex finds the right recipe, we might have an attractive alternative to our usual 100 clams this summer at the Crab Shack down the beach.
Ah, the world is my oyster! As always, we finished off our birthday dinner at Limestone with Grandma's Chocolate Layer Cake with a candle in the middle, and the birthday girl blew it out to make a wish. Of course, Rex has his own ideas about oysters that have nothing to do with pearls...but what if oysters offered objects beyond pearls - what if oysters gave birthday wishes, charcoal, diamonds, or carrots? Or how about fortunes like Chinese fortune cookies? I'd like to find a winning lottery ticket in an oyster...or maybe the key to a perfect March Madness bracket....back to the basketball, tipoff at 12:15pm!
Easter Sunday update: the Rock Star hairdo did not last as long as the more braided Celebrity DJ package the girls chose in Disneyland. Next time I think we'll try the one with the bun.
A. Having a friend with a boat.
Once upon a time, long, long ago, before Rex and I had children, we thought it would be a really good idea to have our own boat...nothing huge, just a 30-footer with a head (I couldn't imagine going out on the Atlantic Ocean for hours or even for a shorter trip in Barnegat Bay without my very own bathroom). We had been out on Gabrielle and Carlos' Aqua Patio around the lagoon in Brick, NJ, pretty much every time they had a party, and a boat seemed like a great time. Then one night we had dinner down in Bay Head with some friends who had a boat. Oddly (we thought), those friends never wanted to take us out on their boat. We chatted away about how we wanted to have a small boat that we could keep in Scow Ditch. The couple brought us into their bathroom and asked if we had a few twenties in our wallet and purse. "Yes," we both answered hesitantly. "Great!" said the couple at the same time. "Take it out and throw it in here," they said, pointing out the toilet. I told them I didn't feel so comfortable flushing money down the toilet. "Oh, dear," said the wife. "I'm afraid you are not ready to own a boat. If you can't get comfortable throwing all of your money down the toilet, you shouldn't be investing in a boat."
I assume this is one of those funny stories that have been passed around by boat owners for years on end (since the original telling, I've heard it from boat owner friends in Florida as well)....but it worked. Rex and I reconsidered our decision to buy a boat, and decided to stay on the beach in Bay Head and make sand castles with our future children instead.
Once someone is so fed up with the ongoing expense that they are ready to donate a boat to charity, there is actually a service called Boat Angel Ministries that is ready to accept all yacht and boat donations. Angel Ministries takes your boat and gives the money to your choice of churches, youth groups, building programs, cancer programs, aid and relief societies, educational programs , international relief programs, animal rescue foundations, diabetes research, lung cancer research Alzheimer research computer education, scholarships, and other charities. So if you have a boat to donate (or a car, for that matter), visit their web site and see if you can make something good (and tax deductible) happen with your money instead of flushing it down the toilet.
Since we haven't tried Perrotti's Butcher Shop and Prepared Foods in Far Hills, NJ, we cannot yet offer our Roxiticus Desperate Housekeeping Seal of Approval. However, we did want to let our readers know that there's a new butcher shop in Far Hills, NJ. M&M Perrotti's is located in the Far Hills Center, next to Country Curtains (probably in the sadly missed Romo Books location), 27 Route 202 South. Phone: (908) 306-8806.
Hours are Monday-Wednesday & Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm, Thursday from 9:00am to 7:00pm, Saturday from 8:00am to 4:00pm, closed Sunday. In order for Perrotti's to be valuable to Rex and me, they'll need to stay open until at least 6:30pm on weeknights so we can stop by on our way home from NYC.
For example, Kettering University is ranked #1 for Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) in the 2008 edition of "America's Best Colleges Guide," published every year by "U.S. News & World Report." While not ranked in the Top 25 men's basketball teams by ESPN or the Associated Press, Kettering continues to be ranked in the Top 20 in the nation in the Undergraduate Engineering schools category, whose highest degree is a bachelor's or master's degree.
With eleven science, business and engineering majors as well as seven graduate programs, Kettering University (in Flint, Michigan) offers engineering co-op programs that combine theory taught in the classroom with the experience gained in the workplace. The mandatory work component of the program represents a substantial portion of each student's curriculum, and level of responsibility normally increases as the student completes advanced coursework. Unlike other co-op programs or internships, Kettering lets its students go pro in their freshman year, rotating every three months between school and their PAID co-op job. Kettering encourages students to stay with the same organization throughout the entire undergraduate education, allowing plenty of time to develop talents and skills for the future and increase each student's value to his or her co-op employer.
Now my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives know that Rex and I disagree about the preferred college education. Rex is sold on small liberal arts colleges, while I stand behind the merits of what Rex calls "vo-tech" -- a college education that includes real skills that the student will be able to use once he or she enters the work force. If you side with Bree on this one, and you're more of a mathlete than an athlete, check out Kettering University:
Thursday, March 20, 2008
- Duke (2) squeezed by Belmont (15), 71-70.
- Kansas State (11) upset USC (6), 80-67.
- Washington State (4) whomped Winthrop (13), 71-40.
- Texas A&M (9) kept us on the edge of our seats before finishing off Brigham Young (8), 67-62.
- Notre Dame (5) had an easy time with George Mason (12), 68-50.
- UCLA (1) humiliated Mississippi Valley State (16), 70-29.
- Wisconsin (3) beat Cal State - Fullerton (14), 71-56.
- West Virginia (7) beat Arizona (10), 75-65, breaking open a close game in the final 2 minutes.
How are all of our loyal Roxiticus Desperate Houswives readers doing with their brackets?
- Xavier (3) beat Georgia (14), 73-61. Georgia got much closer than the final score would suggest...when I went out for parent-teacher conferences with about 8 minutes left in the second half, Georgia was leading 46-42.
- Kansas (1) beat Portland State (16), 85-61. No surprise. No 16 has EVER beaten a 1 seed.
- Michigan State (5) beat Temple (12), 72-61.
- Marquette (6) beat Kentucky (11), 74-66.
- UNLV (8) beat Kent State (9), 71-58.
- Pittsburgh (4) stomped on Oral Roberts (13).
- Purdue (6) beat Baylor (11), 90-79.
- Stanford (3) is in the middle of trouncing Cornell (14), but I called it so I could finish this post and have some dinner. Updated: final score 77-53.
Rex continues to hit the gym every morning, but I'm afraid that March Madness on CBS will be the only exercise I get this month unless the longest cold in history goes away.
The team here at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives has done all the research for you to make the most of your March Madness 2008 experience. Hint to our readers: the contests get better as you scroll down.
First, ESPN has posted their 2008 March Madness Tournament Challenge, and I'm afraid $10,000 is not nearly as interesting as a million bucks. You'd think with sponsors like State Farm and Sprint, ESPN could pony up the money to make it a little more interesting for us.
The CBS Sports Bracket Challenge is offering a chance to win a trip for four to the Final Four in 2009. In Detroit.
Sports Illustrated is running the SI Bracket Challenge through Facebook, with $15,000 in prizes.
The best contest I've found so far (during a search for the dates for the ACC Tournament) is courtesy of WRAL.com and the Carolina Ford Dealers of Raleigh, NC. They're offering $100,000 for someone who picks all the games correctly, and it looks like you fill in your bracket as the tournament goes along instead of the full bracket up front.
Winner of the most bizarre March Madness site goes to (you'll NEVER guess): John McCain, for his McCain Basketball Bracket web site ("compare your bracket with John McCain's bracket"). Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!! It seems to be a way that John McCain is trying to lure voters in to his official web site to provide good old-fashioned Republican propaganda and to give you the opportunity to donate to his campaign. I love it....but he is not offering $1,000,000 for the perfect bracket. Even if he's elected.
Won't somebody please offer up a chance for a $1,000,000 perfect bracket?
Final update as of Selection Sunday, March 16th:
All Roads to the Final Four Lead to BracketContest.com:
Hey, I found one!!! After quite a bit of Googling, I learned that BracketContest.com will pay one million dollars for the perfect bracket. All I had to give up to register was my e-mail address, snail mail address, and phone number. One important rule: only one entry per person/household, so make it a good one. While there are several other sites that show up with this contest on Google, all of them appear to link to BracketContest.com.
What's better than a million bucks? How about $5 million from Yahoo in the Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick 'Em 2008!! Yahoo even lets each person/household/Yahoo ID fill out five (5) different brackets for five shots at the $5 million.
AOL has also stepped up with five chances to win $1,000,000 with a perfect bracket in BracketMania.
Having found our readers all of the March Madness Perfect Bracket Challenges you need, Roxiticus Desperate Housewives must rest. If you're the one with the perfect bracket, please thank us with an appropriate share of your winnings.
Next time I go on vacation, I'll have to plan my crises before we leave the Roxiticus Valley. On that note, if you're on vacation in San Diego, California, and have a little too much to drink at the bar at La Valencia in La Jolla and you see those red lights a-flashing in the rear view mirror, here's a link for a California DUI Attorney with a solid "victory record." An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Of course, you could just drink a little less or call a cab back to your hotel.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
According to "Wild" founder Joe Francis, "Kristen" spent 7 days on the Girls Gone Wild tour bus before heading back home. "I personally ended up buying her a Greyhound bus ticket back home to North Carolina," Francis said. And we thought Spitzer was cheap not to pay up for the Acela train.
Compare IVA Plans
For those of you visiting via BlogExplosion who haven't checked out the Battle of the Blogs, it's a fun way to vote on your favorite blogs or, once you decide you're up for the challenge, to drive some traffic to your own blog and strut your stuff.
More than a decade later, with no country music station in town and most of the rap too hardcore for my taste, it seems harder to find new music in either genre that isn't overplayed on the mainstream radio stations. I find country music on Sirius Satellite Radio in my Jeep, and found a new web site where I can explore the top rap artists.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I have tried to provide useful information here, including the chance to win $5,000,000 in the March Madness Perfect Bracket contests. However, I understand that surfers from BlogExplosion come from around the globe. Realistically, if you're visiting us from Gloucestershire, United Kingdom; Izmir, Turkey; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Vancouver, British Columbia; Bobcaygeon, Ontario; Las Rosas de Madrid, Spain; Oirschot, Noord-Brabant, The Netherlands; or Tipperary, Ireland, you're not likely to care about college basketball.
I'm going to go a little crazy and take on Editing Luke, one of the best there is...So do me a favor...please use your 20 second visit to post a comment and let me know what Roxiticus Desperate Housewives can do to earn your vote. I'm going out to dinner at Sammy's and look forward to being 2 and 6 upon my return.
Last night my hairdresser, who is also a realtor, came over with haircuts and highlights for all. She bought and sold her own house over the past month and closed on her mortgage (through her employer) last week. The hoops they made her jump through were horrible and made her sick to her stomach. Same thing happened to Brent when he bought a house late last year. As soon as he closed with a fixed rate, the Fed lowered rates to try to bail out some of the sub-prime borrowers and mortgage interest rates started to come down, too. The lower rates would make the uninitiated believe that we should all be jumping to refinance, but the paperwork and headaches make me want to stick with my 30-year fixed rate mortage. A poll by Mortgage Monitor revealed that five percent of homeowners had become physically sick from worrying about their mortgages.
This morning I declared that I am in a personal recession, with a ban on significant purchases until the market appears to stabilize. Today had a happy ending, with the Dow up 420 points, but I can't help feeling a little silly to be "blogging for dollars" and clipping coupons to save 75 cents on breakfast cereal while my net worth rises and falls with the daily tidal swings of the stock market.
Here's the latest on our own former NJ governor McGreevey and his wife's three-way. Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey said Monday that he and his wife and a male aide (Teddy Pedersen) engaged in sexual threesomes, contradicting a denial issued hours earlier by his estranged wife. Pedersen said he had consensual sex with the couple for about two years before McGreevey became governor. He said he only had "contact" with Dina McGreevey during the trysts, and wasn't sure whether McGreevey was gay. My question is, why is this all coming out now? McGreevey envious of all the attention Eliot Spitzer is getting? I assume that somehow Jim McGreevey thinks it will help his divorce case, but how? Perhaps something along the lines of "Dina knew I was gay, but due to my self-sacrificing nature, I brought my friend in to service her in a three-way....I did it all for her!"
I am hoping that the variety of scandals in the news will be good for the economy.
Anyway, back then I had the notion that my neighbors were at least as interesting as the women who showed up every Sunday night on ABC, and I began to write about the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives. However, I took about two years off when a fellow blogger was mean to me.
I started back in earnest at the beginnning of this year and have been having a lot of fun writing as well as reading lots of other people's blogs (unlike several former governors I know, I'm down with OPB). A few weeks ago, I joined payperpost when I kept running into their disclosure images (cute little pink, purple, or blue tiny URLs like the one at the end of this post) on the pages I visited through BlogExplosion. Thanks to my diligent work to create some exciting new content for you loyal readers on a regular basis, they have approved Roxiticus Desperate Housewives.
As the name implies, PayPerPost will pay me (or you, if you click on the link below or at the very very very bottom of this page and sign up with PPP) to write about all sorts of opportunities, basically other web sites that are looking for attention and traffic. While there are other similar services in the blogosphere, I like PayPerPost because they let me, as a blogger, choose from the opportunities for which my blog qualifies and write about them. If it all works out, I'll make lots of money and PayPerPost will keep the funds coming well into my retirement years.
I promised you all more pictures, so here is a pictorial of Chester Meat Market, starting with some good lookin' steaks. Rex and I went out to lunch last Friday in Chester, then stopped by to see Louie at the Chester Meat Market to pick up 8 pounds of ground pork and veal to make huge quantities of meat loaf for my younger daughter's birthday after-party. You'll find a beautiful photo of Rex's famous meatloaf at the bottom of this post, though I don't believe he is prepared to share his recipe with our loyal readers.
I took pictures of several favorites in the case. On your left are Lou's famous stuffed pork chops or, as Rex calls them, pork pinwheels.
What's not to like about Lou's famous hot dogs? Rex and I used to swear by Hebrew National until friends convinced us to try these.
When I take up needlepoint, I'm going to redo this sign for Louie.
As promised, Rex's amazing meatloaves. I meant to take another picture after they were cooked, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions (and beer).
Chester Meat Market: 27 W Main Street, Chester, NJ. Phone: (908) 879-7523
Sunday, March 16, 2008
The CBS Sports Bracket Challenge is offering a chance to win a trip for four to the Final Four in 2009. In Detroit.
Sports Illustrated is running the SI Bracket Challenge through Facebook, with $15,000 in prizes.
AOL has also stepped up with five chances to win $1,000,000 with a perfect bracket in BracketMania.
Having found our readers all of the March Madness Perfect Bracket Challenges you need, Roxiticus Desperate Housewives must rest. If you're the one with the perfect bracket, please thank us with an appropriate share of your winnings.
Speaking of the fridge, it seems that every time I open the refrigerator door, I find a new supplement or remedy that Rex has brought home from the nutritionist. There were some magic crystals that reduced his appetite so much that I was the only one reaching for second portions. I caught Lynette checking out Rex's six-pack and asking about the magic crystals, hoping she could go from size zero to, what, negative two?
Rex has achieved his goals -- weight loss, lower blood pressure, stabilized blood sugar levels, lower bad cholesterol, and a stronger immune system -- through a combination of diet, exercise (remind me to tell you about "sprints"), and the foods and nutrients his nutritionist recommends. I know I blogged about the awful cold I had back in February....I still haven't gotten over it enough to work out at all, while Rex is strong and healthy as a horse. Maybe I should take a hint from my husband and everyone else who keeps telling me to take my vitamins to stay healthy, which apparently work better in liquid form for better absorbability and body balance. Of course, the more liquid supplements in the fridge, the less room I have for beer....
The date is Thursday, May 1st, 2008 from 7:00 to 8:00pm. The Family Science Expo Committee is accepting applications until next week (week of March 17th).
According to the flyer that came home in my daughter's backpack, it is a voluntary, after school activity that encourages elementary school children and their parents to work together in ways that will test, tinker and toy with their interest in science. Children and parents will come together to collaborate in hands-on science activities and experiments, to share insights and to problem solve. All experiments will be open-ended, use inexpensive, readily-available materials, and enrich the elementary science curriculum. The program is being run by two elementary school teachers, Nancy Fuller and Laura Porrovecchio.
Q. Who can participate in the Science Expo?
A. The Science Expo is open to any student K-4. Students may work individually or in groups. Groups should be in the same grade level with the exception of siblings who may work together regardless of grade level.
Q. What type of projects should be made?
A. Projects may be as simple as a diagram, a diorama, a poster, or a display of rocks. Projects may be more experimental, computer-generated, mechanical, or celestial. Projects can show how things work, explain why things happen or even define the essence of matter.
Q. Where can resources be found?
A. Students are encouraged to obtain resource and reference materials from the Morris County Library, the Mendham Township Library, and the MTES library. The Internet is another great resource. Students can also talk to experts to whom you may have access and any other sources which can help develop ideas and projects.
Q. What information should be included in each project?
A. The display may consist of a model or demonstration of the experiment, using equipment, photographs, drawings, charts or diagrams. The Scientific Method questions should be answered.
- PURPOSE: What do you want to find out?
- PREDICTION: What do you think will happen?
- MATERIALS: What items do you need?
- PROCEDURES: What steps will you follow?
- OBSERVATION: What happened?
- CONCLUSION: What did you learn from your experiment?
Q. Where and when will the projects be displayed?
A. Every entry will be displayed in the Mendham Township Elementary School gym on May 1, 2008. Doors open at 6:00pm to set up projects. Please be ready to present your project at 7:00pm. The Mendham Township Elementary School Family Science Expo will take place on Thursday, May 1st between 7:00 and 8:00pm.
Q. Who can come see the projects?
A. Parents, guardians, friends, neighbors and Roxiticus Desperate Housewives are all invited and encouraged to visit the Family Science Expo at Mendham Township Elementary School.
Here is a direct link to download the flyer and application: http://www.mendhamtwp.org/pdf/ES/science%20expo-website%20copy.pdf
For more information, the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives recommend calling Mendham Township Elementary School at (973) 543-7107.
Tell them all that Roxiticus Desperate Housewives sent you....
Best Places to Eat:
The Bernards Inn (http://www.bernardsinn.com/content/blogcategory/67/96/) in Bernardsville.
Sammy's Ye Olde Cider Mill in Mendham NJ: http://www.sammyscidermill.com/ or click here for the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives review of Sammy's.
Black Horse Tavern in Mendham NJ: http://www.blackhorsenj.com/
Limestone Cafe (http://www.artfuldiner.com/limestonecafe.html) in Peapack. Limestone doesn't seem to have their own web site, but the link is to a review. Phone number is 908) 234-1475.
Grill 73 (http://www.grill73.com/BISTRO_CLASSICS.htm) in Bernardsville.
Pierre's (http://www.pierresbistro.com/themenu.html) -- Morristown address, feels like Bernardsville to me. About twice a year, Rex & I get a bunch of friends together and take a table of ten at one of the Pierre's wine dinners....the summer seafood dinner is a favorite, as well as several dinners focused on a vineyard (Justin) or region (New Zealand, Argentinian Malbecs). The Roxiticus Desperate Housewives tend to get a bit rowdy and offend the more civilized clientele.
Pluckemin Inn (http://www.pluckemininn.com/cuisine.html) in Pluckemin. Note that Plucky's Tavern, their casual side, used to be a total dive bar with sawdust on the floor and real men.
Vine (http://www.vinerestaurant.net/) in Basking Ridge.
56 Degrees (http://www.wineaccess.com/store/56degrees) in Bernardsville, NJ.
Gary's (http://www.wineaccess.com/store/garyswine) in Mendham, NJ.
Stirling Fine Wine (http://www.stirlingfinewine.com/) in Stirling, NJ. Stirling Fine Wines has a Red Tag Sale about four times a year. We went to Stirling's Red Tag Sale in November 2007 and on Groundhog's Day in February 2008 and stocked up.
Wine Library (http://winelibrary.com/) in Springfield, NJ.
Wine List (http://www.winelistsummit.com/wine/wineservices/wineservices.php) in Summit, NJ.
People are always asking us about our "cake lady" -- Carol Falcone, who does all of our fancy (and delicious) birthday cakes. So here's a link to her web site, As You Like It Cakes, in Far Hills, NJ: http://carolfalconespecialtycakes.com/.
Her phone number is 908-626-0693. I have now given you one of my best-kept secrets. Just remember to tell her the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives sent you.....
Carl Posey of Grillmasters in Bedminster, NJ does all of our Roxiticus Sunset parties. Here's a link to his web site, which always seems to be under construction: http://www.grillmasternj.net/. In case that doesn't work, Carl Posey and Grillmasters can be reached by phone: (908) 719-3334.
Go see Louie for an awesome steak or rack of lamb at the Chester Meat Market: 27 W Main Street, Chester, NJ. Phone: (908) 879-7523. Here's a link to my Chester Meat Market pictorial, and another link to all Chester Meat Market reviews on Roxy's Best Of... Chester, NJ.
Bernardsville News: http://www.recordernewspapers.com/bernardsville_news/
Observer-Tribune (Mendham-Chester): http://www.recordernewspapers.com/observer-tribune/
Doctors and Dentists:
Somerset Pediatric Group in Bedminster: (908) 470-1124
Dr. David Matthews at Far Hills Dental Care: http://www.farhillsdentalcare.com/default.htm
Custom Mirrors and Glass:
Yesterday (1/28/08) I needed someone to install a custom mirror wall in our basement fitness room and I found Basking Ridge Glass & Mirror. They came the same day to do the measurements, and promise to complete the job within a week. They don't have a web site, but their phone number is (908) 766-9199. I'll report back after they finish the job.
Joseph D'Apolito & Son (includes a random little shop with ties and other men's clothes): 16 Peapack Road, Far Hills. Phone: (908) 234-0399
Monetti's Tailoring: 104 Mine Brook Road, Bernardsville, NJ. Phone: (908) 766-4847
Jane's Tailoring & Dressmaking: 20 Olcott Square, Bernardsville, NJ. Phone: (908) 766-5363
Somerset Hills Handyman: http://www.thesomersethillshandyman.com/
Reissman Plumbing: (908) 879-5530. They don't have a web site, but give them a call!
Ann Tannen, a great realtor with the patience of a saint, spent 2 years searching Bernardsville, NJ and Mendham, NJ and helped us to find our dream home in the Roxiticus Valley. Here's a link to Ann Tannen's Realty Executives web site: http://www.tannenrealty.com/. Before Roxiticus Desperate Housewives and our Best of Mendham, Chester, Bernardsville, NJ directories existed, Ann was our only resource for a handyman, tailor, pre-school, etc. Give Ann Tannen a call at (908) 221-9900 and tell her the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives sent you.
So you've decided to join us here in the Roxiticus Valley (Mendham, Bernardsville, Chester, Peapack-Gladstone, Far Hills, NJ). Give Padded Wagon a call at (973) 335-5055 or visit their web site (http://www.paddedwagon.com/) and have them move you here from wherever you are. Leave a comment on the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives blog and we'll try to line you up with some friends.
I hope the next few sections don't get me labelled as a "mommy blogger." Eew.
Early Childhood Education (Age 2 - 5):
In the "better late than never" category: http://www.westmontmontessori.org/. For anyone in the Mendham, NJ/Chester, NJ area looking for a terrific pre-school ("early childhood education"), we're done here but we had a great bunch of years (age 2 through 5) at Westmont Montessori. An amazing experience not just for our kids but for the adult friendships that started there and continue on.
Kid Birthday Parties:
Back in January, we had a birthday party at Mennen Sports Arena (http://morrisparks.net/aspparks/mennenmain.asp) in Morristown. A perfect ice skating venue for a party of 30 kids and about 10 skating adults.
Other good times we've had include Randolph Rock Climbing (http://www.randolphclimbingcenter.com/) and Randolph Gymnastics (http://www.randolphgym.com/).
Mr. Ray (http://www.mrray.com/) sings great kid music (roughly age 2 through 5) that adults can listen to without pain. He does a lot of live shows in the area, is available for private parties, and you can buy his CDs online.
There's not a lot of kid stuff right in town in Mendham, NJ, but my older daughter just had a great time with her Brownie troop at Pastime Bowling Lanes in Mendham, NJ. It is a cute little place, with only four lanes. One of our friends has planned her daughter's birthday party there in April, so I will report back on Pastime Lanes as a kid party venue.
Be sure to check out my New Post on Summer Camp 2008.
Fun Stuff for Kids to Do:
Little Musicmakers (http://www.littlemusicmakers.org/overview.html), from babies to about age 4.
West Morris YMCA (http://www.wmaymca.com/) -- all ages. We've used it for toddler
gymnastics, toddler swim lessons, and several summers with the Backyard Pool Program (private lessons in your own pool)
Annie's Playhouse (http://www.anniesplayhouse.com/) -- acting, singing, musical theatre stuff, including summer camp. Starts around age 5, on up to teenagers. Summer camp for all ages. Phone: (908) 658- 3002.
Garden State Ballet (http://www.gardenstateballet.org/) -- with a branch in Randolph, NJ, GSB starts ballet classes around age 4 and continues through high school.
Randolph Gymnastics (http://www.randolphgym.com/) -- in addition to birthday parties, Randolphy Gymnastics is the best place for weekly gymnastics classes from about age 4 up through high school.
I just signed up both of my girls for another 8-week session at Pavan's Munchkin Tennis Academy at the Fox Chase Tennis Club. Phone: (908) 879-5231. Pavan Patel is great with the kids and just introduced a new, European approach for developing high level junior tennis players (aged 10 and under) involving red, orange, and green balls that are different sizes and "speeds." Neither Pavan nor Fox Chase Tennis has a web site yet. Pavan is also running a tennis camp this summer at Fox Chase Tennis for 9 weeks starting June 23rd. It looks like kids can sign up for as many weeks as they want...we may try it in August.
Awesome family fun at the Somerset County, NJ 4-H Fair: http://somerset.rcre.rutgers.edu/4hfair/. I believe the Somerset County 4-H Fair is touted as the biggest free family fair this side of the Mississippi. It started in 1948, and I've been going since about 1971. There are still no admission or parking fees, no midway or carnival rides. Instead you'll find kids aged 6 to 18 and their horses, dogs, sheep, cows, other pets, projects and activities. The Somerset County 4-H Fair recognizes the accomplishments of 1,000 Somerset County 4-H members and is a showcase for visitors to see a wide variety of 4-H projects in action. Dates for 2008 are Wednesday, August 13th through Friday, August 15th.
Pumpkin picking at Alstede Farm in Chester, NJ: http://www.alstedefarms.com/
Best toy store: Toys With Love, in Chester, NJ: http://www.toyswithlove.com/
Chester Schools Science Fair: http://www.chestersciencefair.org/. Chester hosts one of the largest annual Science Fairs in the statewith over 500 students presenting more than 400 projects. It is open to students in grades K-8 living in Chester Boro or Chester Township, NJ. This year's science fair was held on Saturday, March 1st. Can't wait to hear about all the fun from our friends in Chester.
Charity Begins at Home:
Visiting Nurses (http://www.visitingnurse.org/) take cash donations as well as all sorts of new and used goods (clothing, computers, toys) for their rummage sale, twice a year (May/October) in Far Hills. The 2008 VNA Rummage Sale in Far Hills, NJ is scheduled for Friday, May 2nd through Sunday, May 4th.
Morristown Memorial Hospital (http://www.morristownmemorialhospital.org/en/morristown/ways+to+help/foundations+and+donations/index.html). While we'd rather not end up in the hospital, we've always felt like we've been in good hands when we've come here. We've been involved with donations to the Goryeb Children's Hospital, the new Gagnon Heart Hospital, and the opportunity to honor nurses.
Bridge of Books (http://www.bridgeofbooksfoundation.org/main.htm): a great way to share used children's books with kids who need them the most yet have the least access to books.
Salvation Army (http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn.nsf/fm-ndos?OpenForm&go=1&zip=07960), 95 Spring Street in Morristown. Phone is (973) 539-2700. I had some lightly used kids clothing and spent a lot of time trying to find a local charity that didn't want only brand new. The Salvation Army is happy to accept clothing in good condition to help out local families.
Somerset Medical Center: Charity begins at home (and a good time is had by all) at the Far Hills Race Meeting to benefit Somerset Medical Center: http://www.farhillsrace.org/. I've only been once (October 2007), the sun was shining, the horses were running, the beer was flowing, the kids were playing in the mud, and I'll hope the weather repeats in October 2008.
Hey, Where Did You Get That Great Nanny?
We've had two great nannies, and used two different agencies:
Choice Care (http://www.cho1cecare.com/)
A Choice Nanny (http://www.achoicenanny.com/montvale/)
For temporary child care (I used them on our nanny's maternity leave) or one-offs (evenings, weekends, a day off from school), you'll find In A Pinch at http://www.inapinchnj.com/.
I also used a national online service (http://sittercity.com/) to find a local babysitter when we traveled to Baltimore. It worked out well in Baltimore, and I've remained a member (at $9.95/month) in case I can't get one of my usual teenage babysitters on a weekend.
Things We Love That Aren't Soooo Local:
Suzie Hot Sauce (in New Hope, PA and online): http://www.suziehotsauce.com/