What else are you going to spend $20,000 on?

In case my lighting-fast publishing rate of 0.57 posts per month is too much of a literary firehose to drink from, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you that many months ago (i.e. two posts ago), Happy Family Organic Superfoods chose me to be one of their Bright Side Bloggers. I would embed the video I made with them, but it's easier to just scroll two mouse-wheel revolutions and see the original post. Anyway, the point of that project was of course to entertain you, but it was also to give you a chance to win $20,000 toward your kid's education. 

So, in case you missed it the first time, go back and check it out. Basically, you submit a funny story about feeding your kids, written or video, and they enter you into a contest where you could win all that money towards your kid's education. Regurgitated mashed potato in your face was never more lucrative!

"$20,000 towards education?" you ask. 

"Yes," I say "It's a pretty good investment."

"What's it really worth, though," you say.

"Let me Google some stuff," I respond. "I need to make this post longer, anyway."

So here goes. So in addition to making your kid smarter, what else is worth $20,000 in this world? Start with these:

  • You could start your own concrete restoration and beautification franchise. I actually explored this on behalf of a friend, a few years back. I went to the 2-day seminar and everything. There are so many things you can do with driveways and concrete. They involve intricate stamps and finishes, and being bored off your a%^ applying them (I know I bleeped out a harmless word, but Happy Family is wholesome and they paid me, so respect!).
  • You could buy a really nice coffee maker like this:Of course, you'd have to give your customers the option of cash, credit or monthly installments for a cup of coffee. I'm waiting for my credit score to improve before I actually set foot in a Blue Bottle Coffee Shop (which is where this machine sits, or presides).
  • My second job was worth $20,000. Actually $19,000. For $19,000 a year, I did publicity for The House of Blues in West Hollywood. Hey, I was young and I needed the bragging rights! I got a private concert from Johnny Cash (I sat in on sound check), I got to wristband Eddie Vedder, and shake Tony Bennett's hand, so who cares if being there 15 hours a day worked out to less than minimum wage. I'm STILL bragging to you about this, 20 years later. That's longevity.
  • Or, you could have a kid with Halle Berry and then get $20,000 per month for child support, like Gabriel Aubry did. Work smarter, not harder!
  • Or work funner. You can buy this on Craigslist for $20,000:"I will destroy your yard and lift random things for $20 a pop." That would be my billboard.
  • Get a friend to throw in an extra $20K and you can add "disposal" services to your repertoire.
  • Or just get a lionThe guy who owns this $20K lion lives in Kabul. "I like a stable, predictable life" is probably not the bubble he filled in on his OK Cupid profile. He probably also didn't realize that lion cubs grow up to be grown up lions, and that grown up lions like to remind themselves that their claws and teeth work pretty well together. Know why? Because he probably didn't invest in a good education.

And BAM. I bring it all back to the beginning. A $20,000 investment in education is worth quite a lot more than other things with a $20,000 price tag. Go shoot a video, or jot down some words. But don't think too hard about it because I am a slow poster and left you just a few days to do it. The last day to enter is August 31. Go to the Happy Family Stories from the Bright Side page on Facebook and enter. 


How Happy Family Organics Helped Me Become a Kinder, Gentler Guerilla

My child feeding philosophy is simple: tis better to put the good stuff in than keep the bad stuff out. In other words, even though I would rather my kids not eat sugar, I know it tastes mighty fine, and everyone deserves something mighty fine every once in a while. So you can have it. You just need to make sure something good goes into your system along with it. Our dessert rule has always been in order to earn dessert, you have to finish your vegetables and/or fruit. Simple as that. You can leave the bread, the meat, the rice, the pasta etc. You just have to eat the good stuff in order to eat the bad stuff. If you opt to skip the green, dad eats your dessert. 

Now you can argue that this makes kids see vegetables in a negative light and this is sabotaging them from the get-go. But let's get real. Vegetables suck. And fruit is ok if it's perfectly in season. A Snicker's bar? Always delicious. Always in season. Frozen, room temp, or melted. At least I'm not hiding broccoli puree in a brownie, like a wuss. I'm owning this! When my kids eat broccoli, they are eating broccoli, stem, floret and all. And the whole time, I'm reaffirming "you'll poop good. You can thank me later." Not everything in life has to be shiny and fun. Chomping down those 3 asparagus stalks makes that chocolate chip cookie all the sweeter. Nothing wrong with teaching my kids the value of a hard earned reward. If vegetables have to take the fall, so be it. 

So Happy Family royally messed things up for me. 

It all started when they contacted me to be a "Bright Side Blogger." They told me that they wanted to film me talking about getting my kids to eat healthier and then have improv actors do silly things. Everyone has me at silly things. Here is where I would insert my FTC disclosure, but seeing as I created an entire disclosure post already, I will spare you. Watch this instead (click the image to go to Happy Family's Bright Side page).

While the filming of all this was amazing, and I will always look upon it as one of those unique experiences that bloggers are so lucky to be able to partake in, I still don't forgive Happy Family for messing up my healthy eating tactics. When I arrived in NYC to film this, I was given a bag of goodies, consisting mostly of squeeze pouches in different flavor blends. I don't remember specifics, but I remember trying one because I figured I should at least try the product. You know what? I liked it. Not because I was in NYC on their dime, but because coconut makes everything good, and Happy Family knows this. I hadn't even gotten into the car to take me to the studio before I skipped a quick run to the bar and opted for another pouch instead. I'm not proud of this, but these are that good (not to say I wouldn't squeeze some vodka into these sometime). During the shoot itself, I consumed four more.

But that's not the worst of it. When I returned home, I experimented on my kids.  Here are the results:

The easist fruit they ever ate. One part of me wants to jump up and down and declare that I have discovered a solution to healthy kids eating; the other part of me curses Happy Family. This teaches kids that they can have it all. That healthy and tasty can coexist in the same pouch. Now they probably think they can get into any college they want, or that they will get great jobs when they graduate. This is not good! 

See this picture below? Those are Happy Yogis: little organic freeze dried (or I think so - I'm no snack creation guru) discs of yogurt. She passed up cookies for these. 

And this weekend, I was opening a bag of Skittles that she asked for when she spotted this canister of Happy Puffs, which I wasn't planning on giving to her because they are for babies. Evidently not.

You win, Happy Family. Now my kids have learned that you don't have to suffer in order to have good things. While I'm amazed that there is something out there that is healthy to a fault and can compete with candy and cookies come dessert or snack time, I have to say I will really miss taking cookies hostage as bargaining chips in my quest to get my kids to eat healthier. 

All that I stated above was true: my opinion, my own words, my own kids, my own healthy eating tactics. If you have similar healthy eating tricks, experiences or amusing stories, and would like to possibly win $20K toward college, go to the Stories From the Bright Side page and share them. EARN it, because evidently, earning dessert is now an obsolete activity. 

The disclosure, the whole disclosure and nothing but the disclosure (and a little organic fruit snacking goodness)

Some people think "sponsored campaign" is a dirty phrase. I don't. In fact, without these, I would probably let this blog languish its way down the SEO relevancy ladder. My life has been so crazy busy lately that the last thing on my mind is updating my little piece of the internet. Mainly because I write slow. If I commit to a post, that's an entire night, shot (I have to wake up in 3 hours to catch a plane, in fact). I tell you, contracts and beer money are the only thing keeping this blog alive. And it's less the money part than the "here's a topic - write about it" part. It is so much easier to write a post with a writing prompt (pronounced con-trakt) than to just pick something out of thin air. I'm horrible at finding things in thin air. I'm really good at just doing what people tell me. I'd be the gold star earner at labor camp that all the other prisoners hated. Funny thing about this campaign -- I didn't realize it was a paid gig until after I said yes. It involved a trip to NYC and a day in front of the camera. Ever since I tried out for Karate Kid part 4 in college for the role of "thug #5" and didn't get it (true story), I've hungered for my day on the screen, any screen. The compensation part was my "oh damn, for real?" moment. Don't tell their PR firm this because I had to fake that I expected to get paid once they told me ("oh, yes. That amount should be workable, since I really like your product and want to help you out."). Accidental money rules, as does healthy fruit-based squeeze pouch snacking.

FTC disclosure statements are my superpower. In fact, I think I'm going to be the first person in blogging history to make his disclosure statement his enitre post. If you couldn't tell from the artfully crafted picture above, I was chosen by Happy Family to be one of their Bright Side Bloggers. As part of the deal, they flew me out to New York and filmed me recounting my various mealtime adventures with my kids. While I did this, they had an improv comedy gang act out random skits inspired by my words. See? You'd do it theoretically for free too! They also sent me home with a ton of their snacks -- all organic, and truthfully, all pretty damn good. I mean, nothing beats a cold beer, but I actually found myself consuming convenient squeeze packs of organic fruit puree goodness througout my time in NYC. 

Look ma, no beer! Also, I am eating how the astronauts eat. Squeeze packs: It's not just for babies anymore. Anyway, they are still editing the videos and mine should be done soon. That (and cuter pics of my kids enjoying the product we got to take home) will come in a post I will publish in a few days. Yes, I said a few days, not a few months, as has been par for the course lately. Amazing what organic fruits and contracts can achieve. Stay tuned!