Saturday, February 6, 2010

Home Depot Kids Workshop Rocks!

Kids Workshop at Home Depot Rocks! My daughters Brownie Troop attended the Home Depot Kids Workshop this morning! With tools in hand they began to hammer in unison! Were we crazy, sharp nails, real hammers, lumber in the hands of our Troops? The girls did have a personal Foreman, their parent. These 7 and 8 year old girls were so focused, precise, and listened intently to the Home Depot Carpenter leading the charge! I was very impressed with the Troops and foresee one or two GC's in the future!

Following the completed project the girls were given a Home Depot Certificate of Accomplishment, an official Home Depot Kids Workshop Apron, and Pin representing the Birdhouse Project to attach to their Aprons. What a great gig they have going! I encourage you to attend the workshop with your child, niece, nephew, cousin, etc.

The cost: Just an hour! Sweet. And they say nothing is life is free.
Cheers America!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010


NCLB and vouchers. first vouchers....yes children ready and parents willing should have vouchers. Not weeding out, but giving them an opportunity for advancement. I have no problem with this! This is no different than advanced placement courses provided by public schools based on academic testing, these 'vouchered' children simply are advancing from their schools failing and failing them. However, the voucher system should be based on existing grades and test results. Vouchers can be treated like applications to University. But only applicable to students in schools that have failed this 'act'.

Hypothetically, School A has failed year after year the NCLB act. They have 300 students. 25% of those children achieved vouchers and have moved on, great. The School now has 75% less students and probably lost several teachers and money. Do we leave these children to rot or do we rethink why these children failed the opportunity to move on? The teachers, principals school boards, parents and guardians need to be held accountable. Maybe there needs to be 'new rules' to point this kids in the right direction so the next time they seek the 'voucher' opportunity they can achieve it. First and foremost.

1. Dress Codes, i.e.; Uniforms...everyone on a level playing field. Teachers wear business clothes, stop dressing like students or their siblings. You are professionals and role models beyond responsible for passing these children from grade to grade successfully. The dressing thing is easy. Parents who can't afford the uniforms volunteer at the school and then the costs can be subsidized. I don't think a county will have issue with this. Why do I care about this? The setting becomes 'respectful' in the classroom straight away. Etiquette and manners...that should go without saying.

2. Tardiness/Absenteeism. Now, I am guilty of this and it is a very bad habit. Now only do you miss the 'beginning', sort of like a movie...late for the theatre and difficult to catch up for these students 'left behind'. Same with absenteeism. What to do? Parents and students become accountable. Could be a 3 strikes in one semester for either and you are out or better yet parents required to volunteer at the school for xx hours per semester or their children are out. Parents will not be happy with this especially if they work and will ensure the children are in and on time!

3. Technology/Library. There is no reason why the latest technology cannot be provided, nor should their be a absence of current reads, newspapers, history books, etc. If their are issues with books not being returned when checked out or destroyed, bring the parents back to the school...time to volunteer.

Do you see where I am going with this? Parents/Guardians need to be held accountable. If their are children that are problematic and they don't want to learn..OK they are out there, then they need to be managed diffently, but no less attention than the others. They must understand they have not earned the right to be part of those students who did/are learning and want to learn/improve. What do we do?

The United States fares much better in higher education and training, ranking seventh overall behind Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Singapore, and Switzerland. But even within this category, the United States receives poor rankings in quality of math and science education (forty-eighth) secondary enrollment (forty-third), and quality of the education system (twenty-second), this is a problem.

So we have the 25% 'vouchered' students flourishing, great. We have the 'CLB'/75% in a better environments and hopefully improve tremendously due to focus and less distractions and tools on par with successful schools/districts. Now we discover 15% of 75% grades, attendance, tardiness are simply in the toliet. Along with these results we have no interest, can't catch up, low self esteem, and base their success on their parents or lack thereof? Force their hand and their parents. Parents need to be held accountable! But the responsibility is also on the teachers and school!

Those 'not interested' probably are/were ready to learn, but are so far behind they don't see how they can catch up. Literacy issues, self esteem, and embarrassment weighs big on these students, but they can't be dumped. Parallel education is needed. If we are talking middle school, then start them from scratch...they are now on level/even ground with others and are all starting from scratch! But with these students who fall in this catergory DO NOT belong in classes where they do not belong! An 9th grader who has fallen behind and heading toward dropping out should be restarted at 7th or 8th grade level. Who teaches these children? Plenty of subs looking for work! However, these Student and Parents must sign a contract with rules! Our society is built on rules and regulations...this should apply to parents!

What are your thoughts?

Cheer America!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Decorating and Design

Custom or Mass Produced that is the question. There are many big lot home good shops that give great deals to consumers because they can purchase bulk items...hundreds of rugs, serving platters, window panels, candles, bath accessories, decorative wall art , and furniture.

Yesterday I went to Market in NY to look for the unique items for a sale, more accent items that large furnishings. One booth had just unbelievable modern pop art furniture... I loved just about everything in this booth! white PVC covered sofa and chairs! PVC is a leather like look and feel synthetic. It was soft and well made. That is unique! Also amazing retro chairs with the images of Monroe and Hepburn...again, the chair design unique!

As we walked by the hundreds of booths filling Pier 92 there were fewer unique selections, unfortunately. The savings grace for shop owners must be the young urban and suburban professionals who have not lived the decades of repeat design. The other side us these professionals have the dough, no time to shop, and hire professional decorators to sketch up and design their personal spaces!

Certainly, there are the 40, 50, 60 year old pros who have dough and do the same. However, for this age group they tend to begin purging around now...purging....whoa, that is for another time!

Young Professionals, Use a decorator to help you out. You will not be disappointed!

Cheers America!


I purchased a bag from and love it! However, the manufacturer of the bag had a design flaw in the cross strap lobster clasp which opened when strap hardware turned. Customer Service at was more that apologetic and accommodating. I explained the issue and the NEXT DAY a box from was on my front porch! Opened the box and new bag and strap. Not only did I receive emails giving me play by play of return and delivery, but next day a new bag, unheard of!

I give great kudos to and recommend them to you!

Cheers America