#StopSummerHunger with Firewurst 04-10-14

Firewurst collage

I love hot dogs, especially in the summer. I didn’t know until Firewurst informed me,  July is National Hot Dog Month. Of course it is! It’s the month each year that Joey Chestnut becomes an American hero by eating as many hot dogs as I’d like to eat. (But, not by dipping them in water. Gross.) Firewurst does hot dogs better. They have flame-grilled sausages, burgers and dogs.

I was excited when they asked me to help promote their celebration of National Hot Dog Month with their goal of “10,000 for 10,000” Summer Hunger Campaign to benefit the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. In July Firewurst has the goal of serving 10,000 hot dogs and donating $10,000 of its proceeds to support the nonprofit’s Stop Summer Hunger Campaign. As a mama, it makes my heart hurt to think about kids who don’t have enough to eat in the summer when they’re out of school. I wanted to help. Some awesome local bloggers joined me for some delicious dogs last night. Thanks to Erin, Jen, SarahTheresa and their lovely families for joining us.

We came in and owner Chas Morgenstern greeted us with a smile and told us the story of his business. I love to support family-owned businesses that are successful and growing. They have three locations in the Raleigh area and in my opinion, are a quick service restaurant that is getting it right. They use really good, fresh ingredients and Certified Angus Beef. They have classic favorites along with some delicious and innovative new recipes. Oh, and kids eat free on Wednesdays! I hear your midweek applause, fellow parents who don’t feel like cooking.

photo 4 (6) The Firewurst, their signature sandwich. My favorite!

Don’t like hot dogs? Vegetarian? Don’t sweat it. They offer burgers and have vegetarian options. I’m not a vegetarian, but ya’ll, the Bombay Veggie Sandwich was amazing! Sausage fan? Get the Currywurst! They make all their sauces and side in-house. My husband’s favorite was the wasabi cucumber slaw. Sweet potato fries, anyone? There is not much over $7.00 on the menu, but tastes like it costs more. Seriously. They move fast when you have kids and get them fed. It’s a great place.

photo 2 (20)

Please help them get to their goal of selling 10K hot dogs in July. They will donate $10,000 to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. They are a quality non-profit organization. I have worked with them before. Let me know if you stop by this summer! Tweet a pic using hastag #stopsummerhunger Happy National Hot Dog Month!

Disclaimer: Firewurst offered me and my family a meal, but my opinions are totally free and totally honest. We have eaten at Firewurst previously, as well. 



To My Neighbor Lighting Fireworks After July 4th

fireworks 2 edited

To my neighbor lighting fireworks after July 4th:

Hello fellow American! I hope you had a happy Independence Day. Are you feeling rested after all your revelry this weekend? I’m not. Thanks for asking. I imagine you enjoyed sleeping in Saturday and Sunday mornings. Don’t mistake this letter for my jealousy, I want you to get the rest you need. You may need it.

First, let me say I appreciate your enthusiasm for our freedom, truly. I would never infringe on your right to blow off your own hand. I love the USA and our love for explosives. Explosives on the 4th. You see, I love a good fireworks show on the 4th of July. A quick history lesson for you, that is the day that we as a nation collectively decided we would use pyrotechnics to commemorate our founding fathers’ declaring our independence.

I understand I have young children and my celebrating has to go on early in the day. We’re part of the decorate-your-tricycle-eat-half-a-hot dog-get-home-before-naps crowd. Fireworks are out for us, but I did brace myself and my little family for some unwelcome booms on the holiday. The local community fireworks display caused a few tears Friday night, but we explained “It’s just for tonight on the 4th, sweetie!” My three-year-old understood and fell asleep after the show ended around 9:30pm. That’s the great thing about professional shows, they give us the oohs and ahhs we all need and it’s over with.

You can imagine my discontent when I heard your cracks and booms on the night of the 5th around 11:00pm. We were upstairs consoling our little one who had her hands over her ears laying in the bed, confused as to why you would frighten her with such noises in our peaceful bit of suburbia when the holiday was over.

I myself was trying to figure out what would compel you to put on your own little show a night later. Unlike our fellow Americans in western states, we don’t typically have to worry about dry weather and we’ve had lots of rain. Both professional fireworks displays in our city went on as planned under clear July 4th night skies. Praise Lady Liberty! So, the weather couldn’t have been the reason you were a day late.

Oh! I know, maybe you’re a dollar short!? Did you get your firecrackers half-priced on the 5th at the tent out in front of the grocery store? Good thinking! Between my child’s sobs I was trying to figure out if I was hearing a Roman Candle, a bottle rocket or a Flying Chinese Finger Severer. I’m sure those black cat-purple-airbomb-sparkler-whateverthehells at  60% off put on a great show for your drunk-ass friends at 1:00 am. Oh, and by 1:00am, it was July 6th. The 6th! So, it was the day after the day after Independence Day. It was over, you chump, OVER!

So, I’m sure you’re thinking, “What are you going to do about it? You’re a lame stay-at-home mommy blogger.” Yes, neighbor. I have my lame moments. I own one or more tankinis and have the theme songs to Disney Junior shows memorized. But, know this, if I ever figure out who you are, my revenge will come when you least expect it. It will come in a few years with a knock at your door bright and early one Saturday morning. My kids will wake you up to sell you something you don’t need as a fundraiser for their swim team or whatever. We will ring your bell first and loudest. I will stop you on the sidewalk on Halloween and get you to take a picture of my family. I’ll pretend to be unhappy with the outcome of the photo and have you take more of us in different poses, taking up your time and being insufferable. I’ll ask you to carry coolers at the neighborhood block party, be unhappy with their location and ask you to move them again. I will do it smiling and nice. You won’t know that it’s my revenge for your explosives. It will all be subtle and spread out over time.

Yeah, all this sounds terrible, and it is. But, I make no apology because I will remember the faces of my startled babies and my whining dog on that hot night in July. I’ll do it for all Americans who understand that fireworks on the 4th are sacred.


Your Neighbor

P.S. Your friends don’t want to see your stupid fireworks on New Year’s Eve. It’s cold. They want to go back inside. Take a hint.


To Shining Sea- July 4, 2014

h 4th 2014

c 4th 2014

I’m listening to the far-off sound of fireworks from our community fireworks show, praying they don’t wake my babies. Like many other parents of little ones, we celebrated America’s birthday this morning with a kiddie parade, hot dogs and ice cream. My 3-year-old helped me decorate her tricycle before peddling her way adorably down the main street of a nearby town.

It wasn’t today, but yesterday that I felt more patriotic than I ever had in my life and I’ve seen that one Budweiser commercial during the Super Bowl after 9/11 and watched fireworks over the Potomac while hearing John Philip Sousa Marches.  Charlotte got a new children’s book that had the lyrics of “America The Beautiful” on each page with impressive illustrations. We explained to her that the book was a song. Admit it, that song gives you goose bumps way more often than the “Star Spangled Banner.” When we were finished reading it she asked us to sing it to her. We are not singers in any way, but Greyson and I smiled at each other and began our rendition with “Oh beautiful, for spacious skies…”

Somewhere around “…God shed his grace on thee…” she grabbed both our hands and smiled up at us. In that small moment, during our off-key serenade, I had never been more grateful to have the freedom to be raising little Americans. Happy Independence Day.


Consign This- July 2, 2014

I like kids consignment stores and consignment events for yuppie designer brands that I don’t want to spend all my money on, but for some reason love to put on my children for the two weeks they can wear them. My favorite find, ever? This never-worn Lilly Pulitzer dress. It remains my favorite Lilly of all time. Charlotte was Henry’s age (approximately 7 months) in this picture. I picked the color to go with her eyes. Gah! My beautiful baby girl! I love these.

C Lilly Collage

Alas, she is not a baby anymore. My first-born is a clever, active and growing preschooler with storage bins of organized infant and toddler clothes piling up in her closet. Last week I decided to try my hand at some local consignment shops to offload some adorable stuff. I saved some special items for posterity or my sister if her next baby is a girl.

Washing, repacking and taking these clothes to the store was more emotional than I had anticipated. Greyson and I had a moment as I sorted and inspected each item. Giving up those tiny garments was symbolic of her baby days being long gone. It was partly an admission that I may be done having babies. I’m done right? I’m not having anymore children…right?

But, I got over it. Time marches on. They’re just clothes. I have the photos and the memories. Let’s get down to business.

The business of consigning took for freakin’ ever! Thankfully the women at the store helped me unload. They warned me they weren’t taking too many items under size 24 months or 2T   because they get so much baby stuff. Okay, but I had crazy-awesome stuff that my child looked ADORABLE in and anyone would want to have, so I was good, right? An hour or so later I went back to the shop to find out how I was gonna make it rain with all the mad money I was sure to get for my baller baby clothes.

I got $41 dollars for maybe a sixth of all this:


Okay. No worries. This shop wasn’t taking baby stuff. Off to the next one! Two hours of my life, running out of gas in a nearby parking lot, and driving a town away was all it cost me to get $7.41. This store told me I “had a lot of stains.” Seriously?! That microscopic spit-up dot on a name-brand onesie means I get no money?! Trust me. I did not try to consign the things with the real stains. I had stuff that looked like my kid had worn it while running through the sewer before butchering some meat. I have bought some things with a tiny stain or itty-bitty hole or snag in the fabric. No biggie. It’s pre-owned. I get it, but 7 bucks? Screw this! I’m keeping the rest of her clothes and not ruling out a third kid to put in them. Well, maybe. Nah, I’m done. I’ll just donate it. I’d go with Craig’s List or eBay, but if that’s as much effort as this was, forget it.



Sacrifice- June 26, 2014

I’m feeling foolish as I write this. Foolish because my last post was begging for your advice about strollers as my brain was consumed with our upcoming travels. We had grandiose plans to take our family of four to a family reunion in Nebraska this weekend. Now that it’s almost here I’m a little embarrassed to say we had to cancel at the last minute. Why, you ask? The short answer, money.

money pic

So often money is a taboo thing to discuss. I figure I talk about my leaking boobs and stitched up lady-parts on my mommy blog, so why should I be ashamed of discussing finances? I don’t know, but money is a touchy subject for most people. It’s private. It shows how vulnerable we are. That’s funny for a generation of people who are putting every mundane personal detail of their lives on the Internet to say that money is the thing that most shows our vulnerability, but it’s true.

Don’t get me wrong. Technically our family could afford to go on this trip, but at the price of some real financial strain later this year. It was going to cost an absurd amount to fly, rent a car and get a hotel room. We didn’t want to put a ton on credit cards. You know, credit cards. The cards people our age got when they walked on campus freshman year with their school logo on it.

Here’s the thing, we REALLY wanted to go on this trip. Bad. We had talked it up to our 3-year-old. We told her how great the zoo was going to be and how she was going to get to play with 50 million cousins she’d never met. We promised aunts they would get snuggle time with our squishy 7-month-old. I planned outfits and did laundry. I made arrangements for friends to dog sit. We bought plane tickets. We were going. We had our hearts set on it.

That’s the problem. We had our hearts set on going and wanted to go. I’ve found that Gen X/Millennials like us typically get what we want. Think about it. We came of age in the 1980′s and 1990′s. People my age knew nothing but mostly peace and prosperity until the economic collapse five years ago. Growing up, I figured things would always keep getting better and better. No, seriously. I just assumed my parents would always make more money than they did the year before, ensuring great family vacations and my college tuition taken care of.

This is not to say our generation is not innovative and hardworking. We are. I’m proud of how hard my husband and I have worked for many years to provide a great life for our children. We have a nice home near a good school, two cars and enough for preschool and dance classes.

Now that we are a single income household, we have had to make some adjustments. Sadly, we didn’t adjust enough. We didn’t plan. If we wanted to go on this trip so badly, we should have planned for it better than we did. Yeah, we did have some unexpected expenses pop up, but if we had planned better, it wouldn’t have been a problem. We made the choice for our family to have me stay home with our children. We don’t regret that decision, but we’ve still been living life as we were a double income household. We didn’t sacrifice.

Staying home from this trip is our sacrifice. We are learning the lesson of our generation. We can’t have everything we want all the time. Now, we have to raise the next generation to understand the same thing.