Does Having 12 Kids Make You a Better Parent?

Lillian and Frank Gilbreth had a new baby every 15 months.  And, yes, she did know how babies were made!

13 in all.  One was stillborn, another died at age 6.  But the rest, all eleven, survived to adulthood.

Not bad for the early years of the 20th century!

We are impressed ALL the children are looking at the camera!

We are impressed ALL the children are looking at the camera!

Frank Gilbreth is known as the Father of Movement Engineering


He studied motion.  How people did tasks.  His goal was not to make people work faster, but to eliminate unnecessary movements to be more efficient

He tried to find the One Best Way to perform tasks. 

If you’ve ever had surgery, or performed surgery, you have Frank to thank.  It was he who determined surgical nurses should be in the operating room to hand scalpels and other tools to the surgeon.  Previously, surgeons searched for and fetched their own instruments while operating.

What do you think that bucket is for?

What do you think that bucket is for?

Lillian Gilbreth may not have gone to school for engineering, but she agreed with her husband.  Her goal was to help mothers eliminate unnecessary movements to be more efficient and decrease fatigue, therefore finding more time for leisure and creativity.  She called those moments “happiness minutes.

She tried to find the One Best Way to perform tasks.

If you have a trash can with a foot pedal in your kitchen or bath, you have Lillian to thank.

trash can foot pedal

But what about in their home?

Is it possible to eliminate unnecessary movements to be more efficient in a household with 11 children?

Is there One Best Way to raise children?

The Gilbreth home doubled as a real-world laboratory where Frank tested his ideas about efficiency. 

Here are some of the things he tried:

  • Bath time was not for just getting clean, but for learning to speak French and German by listening to language records.

  • He filmed his children washing dishes, studied their movements, then showed them how to reduce their motions and get the dishes washed more efficiently.

  • The children were required to initial process charts showing they had bathed, brushed their teeth, made their beds, and combed their hair.

That doesn’t seem too far out!  We think you have tried some of the very same techniques with your own children:

  • Listening to Rosetta Stone foreign language CD’s in the minivan.

  • Chore charts on the fridge.

  • Showing (over and over) the proper way to load the dishwasher.

Family fun at the shore. Morse code lessons are next!

Family fun at the shore. Morse code lessons are next!

But there’s more.  Frank also did this:

  • Dinner time was not just for eating, but for running through multiplication tables.

  • Irregular jobs, such as painting the back porch or removing a stump from the front lawn, were awarded on a low-bid basis. Each child who wanted extra pocket money submitted a sealed bid saying what he would do the job for. The lowest bidder got the contract.

  • Vacation on the beach was for learning Morse code.

  • When a few children needed their tonsils out, Frank had the doctor take ALL the children’s tonsils out.  While he filmed the surgeries.  To determine wasted movements, of course.



Two of the grown up Gilbreth children wrote a book sharing their fond memories of home, called “Cheaper by the Dozen.” 

You can find this book at the library

You can find this book at the library

Does that sound familiar?

The 2003 Steve Martin movie is nothing like the true story; instead it plays on the wacky chaos of a big family.

Funny, but not at all about the gilbreth family

Funny, but not at all about the gilbreth family

The 1950 movie is just like the book, a gentle comedy of the Gilbreth family led by loving, time-management-testing parents.

Funny, and all about the real gilbreth family

Funny, and all about the real gilbreth family

What do you think?

Is there One Best Way to raise children?

We’re certain you have at least one tip that has made life with your children more efficient, with less wasted movement.  Please share with us!

Sometimes, School is a Pain in the Backside

We’re not talking about the old days, when teachers could hit students.


We’re talking about now.

We’re talking about school days that look like this:

  • Morning: Your child is late because he could only find one shoe.

  • Math:  What homework?  Now there’s extra homework tonight.

  • Recess:  Your child’s best friend is mean to her.

  • Language Arts:  Too much sitting still for your squirmy kid.

  • Lunch:  All the food is yucky.

  • Art:  Paint drips on your child’s good shoes.

  • After School Program:  Kids sit in front of a video, no homework completed.

  • Evening:  Running to ballet, soccer, youth group, scouts, robot club, etc.

  • Homework:  Becomes a battle.

  • Baths, books, brush teeth, bed.

Isn’t it funny how soon we forget complaining about school being out for the summer!

Some days it seems summer lasts waaaaay too long!

Some days it seems summer lasts waaaaay too long!

The office supply store Staples even made a clever commercial about this several years ago.  The song is meant for Christmas, but for parents in August, back-to-school may just be “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

We have mixed emotions about school.  Sending our kids off to school is both a relief and a struggle.

mixed emotions.jpg

What do we do about it?

If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD or autism, or you are wondering about their hyperactivity or lack of attention, you may feel conflicted with back-to-school.

          Hooray – My child is back in a routine

          Boo – Other kids may not treat my excitable child nicely.

          Hooray – I actually can get something done with the kids gone all day.

          Boo – my child’s teacher may not understand

Take a look at what this 59 second video has to say.

Teachers have a variety of teaching styles, and it can be hard for some teachers to manage the behavior of children with ADHD.
— Crystal Sanford, Our Expert
Oooh! Who is he going to hit with that paper airplane?

Oooh! Who is he going to hit with that paper airplane?

Children with ADHD are challenging to live with, and challenging to teach.  But ADHD is not our fault.  It is not our child’s fault.

It’s our circumstances.  That’s just how it is.

ADHD does not mean our children cannot succeed in school.  We just have to work with them a little differently.

It’s our choice.  There is much we can do.

There is hope for your child with ADHD. Here are some strategies that parents find helpful:

  • When doing homework, a short ‘movement break’ can help a child with ADHD refocus on completing the work.

  • A small fidget toy is not a distraction for a child with ADHD.  It helps them relax and be alert.  Try giving your child two quarters to rub together between their fingers.

  • Children with ADHD feel it when adults don’t seem to like them.  Love them and be their cheerleader.  Let them know you are on their side.  At the end of the day, did your child receive more corrections, or more compliments?

You are a resourceful parent.  What will you try for a ‘movement break’?  What have you found works for a fidget toy? How will you be your child’s cheerleader today?  Let us know so we can share with other parents just like you.

PS. What is the first thing you treated yourself to when your kids left for their first day back to school?  Or maybe you have a special routine to celebrate back to school with your child?  Please share with us!

At Age 111, You Can STILL Get a High School Diploma!

Sometimes circumstances keep you from doing what you should.

Lela Burden was a 15-year-old school girl in Virginia, when the Spanish Flu struck her town.

spanish flu

Lela’s high school was closed, and students told to stay home.

Not Lela.  She went to work.  Two jobs, in fact.

It was 1918, and money in her pocket felt so good, that when the flu epidemic passed, Lela decided not to go back to high school.

Lela Burden’s graduation day!

Lela Burden’s graduation day!

In 2014, 96 years after dropping out of school, Lela got her diploma.  She was 111-years-young.


  • Question: Did she go back to the classroom and take geometry and history?

  • Answer: No, it is just an honorary diploma, but it recognizes a life well lived. It shows that circumstances can’t keep a good person down.

Lela is officially the oldest person to be given an honorary high school diploma. 

I’m not old yet. I’m still a young lady.
— 111-year-old Lela Burden of Virginia
We hope we look this good at 111.

We hope we look this good at 111.

Way to go, Lela!

Sometimes, our choices keep us from doing what we should.

make good choices

In 1942, Dorothy Liggett was just a few weeks from getting her high school diploma in Ohio. 

She forgot her gym clothes, so the teacher told her to go to study hall.

1940's girls gym clothes

Dorothy wasn’t having that!  She blurted out,

“No.  I’m married.  I’m going home.”

Married?  WHAT??

Yup.  She and John Huston, who was a B24 pilot in the US Army Air Corps, had run off to Kentucky and secretly gotten married.

And married girls were not allowed in high school.

As Dorothy stormed home to her parent’s house, who didn’t know she was married, she thought to herself,

“Oh, my gosh.  I shouldn’t have done this.”

Dorothy was expelled, and denied her high school diploma. And she called this the Stupidest Thing I Ever Did.

  • The Stupidest Thing I Ever Did: She didn't mean sneaking off to get married. That turned out pretty good for John and Dorothy Huston, who were married for 66 years before John’s death in 2007.

  • The Stupidest Thing I Ever Did was not graduating high school. Her five children heard it all the time, “You kids have to have your education.”

You kids have to have your education.
— Dorothy Huston of Ohio
John and Dorothy Huston

John and Dorothy Huston

Yes, it was Dorothy’s poor timing that kept her from graduating from high school.

But, as a surprise for her 93rd birthday, Dorothy’s five children arranged for her graduation to be recognized.  She graduated officially from high school 75 years late!

Dorothy Huston’s graduation day, 2016

Dorothy Huston’s graduation day, 2016

All of us have done something stupid.

Our kids do stupid things, too.  But our children are amazing, also. Perhaps they drive us crazy at times; maybe their choices make life chaotic. But each child is special, and is your gift.

Even on the days you wish there was a return policy on children!

jumping boy

What did you take away from Lela or Dorothy's story? Are you amazed? Surprised?  Do you know any inspiring graduation stories? Write us back and let us know.

PS. What do you want to finish? What do you want to begin?

Restaurant #6: Friends with Food Restrictions


If you want to cook and take care of your friends with food restrictions, there are many great blogs and recipe books out there.

If you are on a Cuisine Quest to visit every restaurant in your town, and you have a friend with you, how do you handle her food restrictions?

You let her pick the restaurant!


We have finished the restaurants on our first street, so I made my chart of the restaurants on the next street we will tackle.  I gave our friend the list, and she chose the one that seemed to work best for her dietary needs.

Most of the places on our first street were casual restaurants, so it was nice to sit down to a Thai restaurant that has tablecloths and an attentive waitstaff.  This small restaurant, even on a weeknight, was so busy that we had to squeeze into a table on the sidewalk outside.  A busy restaurant is a good sign!

But will they take care of our friend with food restrictions?

Our friend ordered  Thai Green Curry  with beef, coconut milk, bamboo, peas, carrots, eggplant, and sweet basil.

Our friend ordered Thai Green Curry with beef, coconut milk, bamboo, peas, carrots, eggplant, and sweet basil.

Her Thai Green Curry is served with rice, and when she ordered and requested vegetables instead of rice, the server was very confused.  It already comes with vegetables, so why would you want more?  Our friend tried again.  Perhaps some cabbage instead of rice?  The server didn’t think the kitchen could do that.

But in the end, it didn’t matter, because her food was “lick-the-plate good!”

My  Chicken Fried Rice  had a tasty balance of meat and vegetables, and was enough for leftovers.

My Chicken Fried Rice had a tasty balance of meat and vegetables, and was enough for leftovers.

My husband’s dinner was similar to our friend’s, but with chicken and Thai soy sauce. He liked it!

My husband’s dinner was similar to our friend’s, but with chicken and Thai soy sauce. He liked it!


Would we go back?  Three forks up!  Even without accommodations being made for our friend’s food restrictions, she still would eat there again.

A different person with food restrictions could have made the evening unpleasant.  People who want to can complain about anything.

When at a restaurant, when do you complain?

When you do let things go?

Three Reasons to Say YES More Often

Recently, several best selling books have touted good reasons to say “yes”.

Shonda Rhimes, talented screenwriter of shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, is a busy introvert, who makes time for her three kids but not for much else socially or for publicity sake. At Thanksgiving, her sister mutters, “You never say yes to anything.” Shonda decides to give it a shot.

We say no out of fear.

We say no out of avoiding inconvenience.

If I don't poke my head out of my shell and show people who I am, all anyone will ever think I am is my shell. - Shonda Rhimes

Reading Shonda’s story can help us see more clearly why we say no. From that, we can decide if we should say yes.

Noelle Hancock uses the story of Eleanor Roosevelt’s life at the framework for her book. Eleanor was the wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, president of the United States during the Great Depression and World War II.

But the book is really about Noelle facing one fear a day for one whole year. That could be open mic at the comedy club, swimming with sharks, or climbing Mt Kilimanjaro.

If the day was ending, and she hadn’t yet done something that frightened her, Noelle would run down the hallway of her apartment building naked.

When I looked back, nothing was ever as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, it was usually better than I could have imagined. I learned that we should take each moment both more and less seriously because everything passes. The joyful moments are just as fleeting as the terrible ones. - Noelle Hancock

Noelle’s book feels like a gimmick, but it can be a wake-up call.

What really cool things are we avoiding just because they are a bit hard, or rather scary?

D-Day Remembered

Seventy-five years ago American, British and Canadian forces landed on the beach at Normandy, France. They faced incredible obstacles in an attack against Nazi forces that could have been a disaster. Yet heroically the Allies ended up turning back Hitler’s army, leading to the eventual surrender of Germany and ending World War 2 in Europe.

Such intense action has been portrayed in many movies.  This clip from Saving Private Ryan (1998) shows the soldiers just before landing.

Other favorite movies that portray D Day include The Longest Day (1962) and Band of Brothers (TV 2001). More are listed in this article, Pain and Patriotic Duty on D-Day Reflected in Flim and Books.

Thanks go to those amazing people who swallowed their fear to help end the war!

Find Your Joy

Everyone has something that brings them joy.

  • The smell of a freshly bathed baby.

  • A morning run.

  • A cup of gourmet coffee.

On days when everything seems to be going wrong, it’s good for our mental health to have ‘joy’ in our back pocket. Activities that we know will help us cheer up.

  • Two minutes in a yoga child’s pose.

  • Three minutes to clean out your bag.

  • Four minutes to chat with a good friend.

Or the time it takes to dance to a good song.

What song always gets your feet moving and fills you with joy?

Restaurant #5: Second Chances

GIft Guide for Dog Lovers-instagram_post-2016-11-09-07-21-37.png

When do you give a restaurant you didn’t like another chance?

Perhaps when there is a new owner.

Maybe if you see the restaurant being remodeled.

Or if you are on a Cuisine Quest of your own, and visiting every single restaurant in your town!


Restaurant #5 is another taco shop.  You’ll remember from a previous post that there are so many taco shops in our town that I wondered how they each could compete and survive. I decided to be very picky to determine the best taco shop for us.

This taco shop has been around for the 20 years we’ve lived on our street.  When we first moved in we were excited to have tacos we could walk to!

How great to be able to send my child to the taco shop to bring home dinner!

How great to be able to send my child to the taco shop to bring home dinner!

But, we didn’t like their beans.  Or their guacamole.  Or their carnitas.  Or their rice.

Tonight, we gave this taco shop a second chance.

The tortillas are soft and warm and yummy! They gave us a huge portion of  carnitas .

The tortillas are soft and warm and yummy! They gave us a huge portion of carnitas.

My husband ordered a  adobada  burrito, which is pork marinaded in red chili sauce with vegetables. It was good, and enough for leftovers!

My husband ordered a adobada burrito, which is pork marinaded in red chili sauce with vegetables. It was good, and enough for leftovers!

All these years later, we still don’t like their beans or guacamole or carnitas or rice.  Nice people, but the food just isn’t for us.

We give it two forks down.  But that is just our opinion.  While we were eating, a steady stream of customers came in the restaurant and through the drive through.  And the customer service was friendly.


My friend Beverly says:  

This reminds me of what so many of us do with our faith. We walk away because we had a bad experience at a church. We didn’t like the music or the preaching or the greeters were particularly cold one day. Maybe they didn’t keep the building clean enough, code for ‘they let a lot of riff raff in’. Or, maybe they kept the building too clean, which means there were lots of rules and regulations.
If you’re one of those that tried church for awhile and didn’t like a few of the menu items, then give another one a chance. You won’t like every item on the menu, but you’ll find what your soul is craving. And, oh, the deep down belly satisfaction that’s oh so good.

Is there something in your life that could use a second chance?

Jaw-Dropping Generosity

What would you do if you had a net worth of $5 billion?


This past weekend, billionaire Robert F. Smith gave about $10 million of his money away. Just like that. No strings attached.


He surprised the graduating class of Morehouse College in Georgia by paying off all of their student loans.

Watch the faces of the faculty behind him, who had no idea of his plan…

As hard as each of you has worked to achieve what you all have achieved today, you’ve had a lot of help along the this forward.
— Robert F. Smith

He has given freedom to those young graduates, but more importantly, he spoke of living a life of giving.

We can handle this news two ways. The wrong way, and the right way.

Don’t go the wrong way:

  • Don’t let yourself feel jealous.

  • Don’t fall into a ‘poor me’ mindset.

  • Don’t complain that you never get any good breaks.

  • Don’t whine that if only you had $5 billion, you’d be generous, too.

All of us, every day, must live with generosity and compassion.


Generosity Quotes
  1. Give away 10% of each paycheck. Yikes! Really??? Yes. Find your favorite charity or church and make this automatic. Or start at 5% or even 1%, getting in the habit of sharing your hard-earned cash.

  2. Give your time. Read a storybook with a toddler. Call your mother. Volunteer at the little league snack bar. Mentor a new coworker.

  3. Use your talents. Can you organize? Write? Cook? Counsel? Drive? Sing?

  4. Smile and look around you. Open the door for someone with their arms full. Share a snack with a coworker who forgot their lunch. Chat with someone who seems lonely.

Your one act of generosity and compassion toward an individual could reach and touch others who you could never have imagined!

No matter what happens in life. be good to people
— Taylor Swift, Singer-Songwriter

Exploring Invisible Disabilities Video Course

Your child has ADHD. Or autism. The diagnosis isn’t a death sentence, but you probably have some questions:

  • What is an invisible disability?

  • Who's fault is this?

  • What are the range of challenges facing my child?


Do you feel uncertain?

  • Do you avoid certain people because they make you feel like a bad parent?

  • Do you dread emails from you child's teacher because they say all sorts of things about your child that you don't understand?

  • Does your child's doctor toss around terms like ASD or hyperactivity without explaining what that means? 

Maybe you can just try harder.

Oh, please.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.

insanity albert einstein.jpg


Make a better choice.

We have created our Exploring Invisible Disabilities:  ADHD and Autism to help you. To give you an understanding of your child's diagnosis.  To give you guidance for your next steps.

You are busy. Everyone is busy. This short video course is like having access to experts whenever you want!

Binge watch the course. Or listen to it as you would an audiobook. Or watch a little at a time. Owning the course gives you unlimited access to Crystal and Cindi on your own schedule.

This will not get better on it’s own. Early intervention is so important.

PS. If you have questions, see the Frequently Asked Questions section on our product page.

Family Secrets - Don't Tell!

Don't you wish you knew the story behind this family photo? Or stories?


If you have had a relatively fun and relaxed childhood, all things considered, then you probably owe your mom a huge gift.

All families will have some traction, all kinds of small feuds and issues, and perhaps a few skeletons in the closet.

It’s up to moms to act as a buffer between their children and the turbulent relations within the family, always keeping their chin up and a smile on their face.


Especially on family vacations with teens!


Isn't it great how this mom shows love to her children in this family photo?

Some differences in our children can cause confusion or embarrassment. Especially at school.

Watch what our expert Cindi says about when you disagree with school officials.

A parent has multiple jobs. Start by getting more information from the counselor.
— Cindi Britton, ADHD Expert

Another family secret: ADHD or autism wont get better on it's own. Early intervention is key.

For the price of a few cups of coffee, you can purchase our online video course Exploring Invisible Disabilities: ADHD and Autism.

  • You will have access to information that will explain autism and ADHD.

  • You will have knowledge and understanding when the doctor or school professionals talk to you about your child.

If you buy before 11:59pm Pacific time tomorrow Friday May 17, as a bonus, you will get a FREE 20 minute Phone Discovery Session with one of our experts!

You will be able to schedule your FREE 20 minute Phone Discovery Session at a future date of your choosing. You will get personalized feedback and guidance from Cindi or Crystal

PS. Perhaps you’d like to have our FREE chart. Click here now.

Different is Nice, Until it Drives You Crazy

Some families have children that are different.

Actually, every child had difficult days.  Even children in perfect families.

(Here’s the secret – there are no perfect families).

Having a child with ADHD or autism brings challenges to your home and to your child’s school experience.

Autism and ADHD are known as invisible disabilities

  • A child with autism has no outward sign of his disability. 

  • A child with ADHD looks just like every other child.

Yet children with autism or ADHD can act different than the other children.  And this can cause confusion, frustration, and even anger in the adults around the child.

Here is what our expert Crystal has to say about taking a child with autism out in public.

You wish you had a button that said, “My kid is not spoiled, my kid has autism. Give them some space!”
— Crystal Sanford, Autism Expert

Exploring Invisible Disabilities: ADHD & Autism is our short online video course geared to helping parents understand these two common invisible disabilities.

Two experts in education as well as ADHD and autism provide an understanding of both disabilities in a short video course. Only $24 will bring you to a peace of mind and understanding about your child and their disability.

Understanding invisible disabilities helps.

Curious?  Find out more about our Exploring Invisible Disabilities video course.

Be one of the first to buy this course before Friday May 17 and get a free 20 minute phone discovery session with one of our experts. 

PS. You may want to see our free chart first.

Mom is Always Right - Except When She's Not

Moms do make mistakes.

We look at this photo, and think,

What was she thinking???

But stop it.  You know you’ve done something like that.

  • Like taking your timid child to the shark exhibit.

  • Like making your kid go to school when they were sick.

  • Like making your teen die of embarrassment just because a good song comes on.

Apart from making sure that they are safe, and have enough to eat and wear, a mother will face a thousand and one little challenges while trying to raise her kids right. 

Challenges that outsiders do not see.


I see a perfect family.

I also see

  • the struggle to find everyone’s shoes

  • the argument with the daughter who only wears princess dresses

  • the child who is distracted by the lights

  • the struggle to get teeth brushed and hair combed

  • the meltdown about to happen

  • and the teen who is dying of embarrassment

Quirky characteristics can be hidden from the outside world.  Your spouse who collects Russian space pins.  Your teen who is obsessed with Legos.  Your child who will only eat orange foods.  Your kid who is always fidgeting.


It can be difficult.  It can seem like you are all alone. 

You are not alone.  You are valuable to your family.  You are doing a good jobYou care.

Mothers matter.

You matter.

You are strawberries.jpg

Just know that none of us are right all the time…


Things May Be a Little...Off

Have you ever entered a room, and felt that something was off? 

Did someone leave you a surprise?


Or did someone rearrange something? 

Does this make you happy….or worried?

Does this make you happy….or worried?

Some people like to have things just so, and know it if you’ve made a change.

It does kinda make sense….

It does kinda make sense….

Have you ever shared a photo, and then realized something was off?

Maybe there was something awkward in the background. Maybe someone photo bombed you.



Maybe something happened that you didn’t expect.


We can get upset. Or fussy. Or, we can choose be grateful.  And choose to laugh, even if we know we will be the one to clean up.

Breakfast in bed ….almost!

Breakfast in bed ….almost!

We can simply appreciate that sometimes we are a little ‘off’ ourselves.

We hope you had a nice, spill-free Mother’s Day!


Restaurant #4: When to Break a Rule

We shouldn’t have gone to this restaurant.

There are five of them in our county, and one in the county just north of us.  By our own definition, that makes it a chain. If there were only four of them, we would have been fine, but we still went.

So, if our Cuisine Quest is to visit every non-chain restaurant in our town, and the list is very long, why did we waste our time on a restaurant that should have not been on our list?


Soccer.  Or, football.  Depends on where you’re from.

You see, we are soccer fans in America without cable TV.  So, unless we invite ourselves to someone’s house to watch the game, we have to go to a restaurant to watch.

The best restaurant we’ve found that our whole family can watch soccer is a chicken wings chain restaurant the next town over.


That restaurant is the only place I’ve ever eaten wings.  During FIFA World Cup, and during the Summer Olympics, we eat a lot of wings.

That is why I broke our rule and visited a border-line chain restaurant.  I wanted to know what chicken wings were like at other restaurants.

My husband refused to order wings. His salad turned out to be really tasty!

My husband refused to order wings. His salad turned out to be really tasty!

It looks and tastes the same as at our usual wings restaurant. But the bread sticks are amazing!

It looks and tastes the same as at our usual wings restaurant. But the bread sticks are amazing!


Would we go again? Yes, for the food. Two forks up. Will we go again? Not during soccer season!

Is it ok to break a rule just because I want to?  There are many reasons for rules.

  • Courtesy – open the door for someone with their arms full.

  • Law and order – don’t take something that doesn’t belong to you.

  • Social behavior – look at the person, not your phone, when they are talking with you.

  • Business – If it’s not necessary to ‘reply all’, don’t.

  • Health – don’t start smoking.

  • Family – ask first before borrowing.

  • The Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them to unto you.


Avengers: Endgame - Are You A Fan?

Yes. Yes, I am.


I’ve seen all the movies. But I’m not an expert. Some characters I don’t remember (in the last Avengers movie, who is that red guy, and why is everyone sad when he dies?)

If you are a casual fan, as I am, here is my advice if you are one of the few people in America who haven’t seen the movie yet.

  1. Watch this Avengers story recap video.

    Some people will watch all the movies again before this one. But that is 21 movies! Instead, just watch this well done recap video.

2. See Avengers: Endgame in a crowded theater.

There is nothing better than seeing a movie in a room full of fans. They will ooh and ah. They will laugh. They will cry. They will cheer. You will, too.

3. After watching Avengers: Endgame, watch this video to understand all the things you missed.

It’s a long movie, and a gift to fans. This excellent video helps you get all the references and connections you may have not caught.

Fun movie!

What other movies are better when you watch with fans?

I Will Survive

Some songs make you cry.

Some songs remind you of days gone by.

Some songs make you grin and tap your toes. And sing along.

i will survive.jpg
At first I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along
And so you’re back
From outer space
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock, I should have made you leave your key
If I’d known for just one second you’d be back to bother me
Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
’Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
Do you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die?
Oh no, not I, I will survive.
— Gloria Gaynor, 1979

Great songs get copied and covered and used for movies, TV, and even commercials.

This first example is by The Puppini Sisters, a contemporary group who sing in a 1940’-style three part harmony. I have it on my swing dance playlist!

Here are three examples of I Will Survive used in movies. The first one is from a funny-touching football movie from 2000. The other two, from an animated movie and an Australian movie, I haven’t seen, but are fun in the way they adapt the song to fit the movie.

In case you need more, here is Gloria Gaynor herself singing her song I Will Survive.

What other songs are great as the original and also the copies?

Life Achievements Often Require Compromises - Is That OK?

Amelia Earhart had many firsts.

You probably know her as the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.

There is more to the story.

She wasn’t the pilot.

It was 1928, one year after Charles Lindbergh flew solo from New York to Paris. Several women were striving to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. Planes were expensive, and unreliable in the early days of flight, so the one with the money and the courage got the first chance.


Powerful book publisher George P. Putnam put a team together, including pilot Wilmer Stultz and mechanic Louis Gordon. Amelia’s job was to be the flight recorder, and write a book about her experience. The plane took off from Newfoundland June 17, 1928, and successfully landed in South Wales over 20 hours later.

Stultz did all the flying - had to. I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes.
— Amelia Earhart

But Amelia’s big contribution was her country-wide book tour, publicized by the same George P. Putnam. Amelia’s goal was to make flying available to everyone, even women. She even became the Aviation Editor of Cosmopolitan magazine!


Her tireless campaign for women to fly, along with several other passionate women pilots, led to the formation of The Nintey-Nines, an organization of licensed women pilots.

Was Amelia Earhart’s famous flight across the Atlantic, when she was only a passenger, a compromise?


Did this compromise diminish her achievement?


There were around 200 licensed women pilots in the USA in 1928. By 1935, that number flew to over 700!

Way to go, Amelia!

Amelia went on to set many flight records on her own.

  • October 1922 broke women’s altitude record

  • June 1928 first woman to fly (as passenger) across Atlantic Ocean

  • June 1930 broke women’s speed record

  • April 1931 set women’s autogiro (like a helicopter/air baloon) altitude record

  • May 1932 first woman to fly solo across Atlantic Ocean - she did it!

  • August 1932 first woman to fly solo across the USA nonstop

  • January 1935 first person, man or woman, to fly solo from Hawaii to California

  • April 1935 first person, man or woman, to fly solo nonstop from Mexico City to New Jersey

Here is a lovely biography of Amelia by Katie Teekell.

Remember I said planes were expensive and unreliable? It took someone with money and with courage to attempt the flying records that Amelia did.

She had the courage.

How did she get the money?

She married her publisher.


George P. Putnam promoted Amelia. But he also pursued her. After his divorce in 1929, he asked her to marry him six times before she finally agreed in 1931.

But she seemed to be indebted to George, instead of in love with George. She seemed to marry him out of obligation and gratitude for the opportunities he provided for her.

How do we know? She wrote him a letter on the day of their wedding.

There are some things which should be writ before we are married -- things we have talked over before -- most of them. 

You must know again my reluctance to marry, my feeling that I shatter thereby chances in work which means most to me. I feel the move just now as foolish as anything I could do. I know there may be compensations but have no heart to look ahead. 

On our life together I want you to understand I shall not hold you to any midaevil code of faithfulness to me nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly. If we can be honest I think the difficulties which arise may best be avoided should you or I become interested deeply (or in passing) in anyone else.

Please let us not interfere with the others' work or play, nor let the world see our private joys or disagreements. In this connection I may have to keep some place where I can go to be myself, now and then, for I cannot guarantee to endure at all times the confinements of even an attractive cage. 

I must exact a cruel promise and that is you will let me go in a year if we find no happiness together.

I will try to do my best in every way and give you that part of me you know and seem to want.


Was Amelia Earhart’s marriage to her publicist a compromise?


Did this compromise diminish her achievement?



Learn everything you wanted to know about early aviation in Keith O’Brien’s amazing book Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History

Fast Food Recycling

You know you eat out. Don’t deny it! Let’s talk fast food recycling!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This slogan has been around since the 1970’s, and most Americans believe it is a responsible way to live.

But recycling isn’t working.  China used to take 40% of our recycling, but stopped in 2018. Instead, 25% of paper and plastic and metal in the US is ending up buried or burned because it is too contaminated to be worth recycling. Only 9% of all the plastic produced in the past 70 years has been recycled.

recycling logo.png

We could make laws or new taxes. Instead, let’s focus on what we can do today to reduce our waste in a small area of our lives:  eating out.

Let’s talk about fast food.

On a given day, 36% of Americans eat fast food.  80% of adults eat fast food at least once a week.

You know you’ve eaten out this week…

You know you’ve eaten out this week…

Next time you eat fast food, take these five steps to reduce your plastic, aluminum and paper waste. (Credit and gratitude goes to my friend Emily for inspiring my change in viewooint.)

  1. Bring your own beverage container. 

Drink cups made of waxed paper or Styrofoam cannot be recycled.  The plastic lids and plastic straws also go directly to the landfill.  Any fast food restaurant with a self-serve soda fountain will allow you to use your own drink cup.  Just pay for a large drink and show your drink cup to the teenager taking your money.

Happy fast food teen workers.

Happy fast food teen workers.

It looks delicious. But look at all that plastic that will go straight to the landfill.

It looks delicious. But look at all that plastic that will go straight to the landfill.

2. Condiments use a lot of plastic that cannot be recycled.

If you’re eating Mexican and there is a salsa bar, bring your own small container that you use, clean when you get home, then again.  The same goes for pump ketchup. 

If the restaurant has individual ketchup or salad dressings packets that will end up in the landfill, bring some ketchup or dressing from home in your reusable container.  I know that sounds hard core, but think of the millions of plastic ketchup packets that get thrown away every single day.

Instead of snacks, use these containers to bring your own ketchup or salad dressing.

Instead of snacks, use these containers to bring your own ketchup or salad dressing.

3. You can’t bring your own container to have a salad made.

Salads are typically made in advance and stored in individual plastic containers, which cannot be recycled.  You can choose to eat at fast food restaurants that put their salads in paper bowls with aluminum lids.  You will have to bring the aluminum lid home to wash and put in your own recycling, because dirty aluminum in the restaurant trash will not be recycled.

Delicious and better for the environment! I’ve only found paper bowls for salads at  Chipotle  and  Rubio’s . Rubio’s uses a plastic lid, however. That means Chipotle wins with it’s paper bowl and aluminum lid.

Delicious and better for the environment! I’ve only found paper bowls for salads at Chipotle and Rubio’s. Rubio’s uses a plastic lid, however. That means Chipotle wins with it’s paper bowl and aluminum lid.

4. Plastic forks.

You can buy a set of camping silverware that you bring and wash after each use.  If you are stuck using plastic silverware, at least bring it home, toss it in your dishwasher, and use it over and over.

Just don’t forget it’s in your purse when you head to the airport…

Just don’t forget it’s in your purse when you head to the airport…

5. Paper is the most challenging.

Paper receipts and the waxed paper that holds sandwiches cannot be recycled. You have no choice but to throw them into the landfill. Paper boxes or bags or plates or napkins with food and grease stains cannot be recycled either.  What should you do with your dirty paper trash?  Right now your best option is to take it with you the next time you go to a bonfire.

Yes, my marshmallow is on fire. I like it that way!

Yes, my marshmallow is on fire. I like it that way!

You may look silly bringing your own containers.  You may feel odd bringing your paper trash or aluminum recycling or plastic fork home with you.

Make this a habit, and two things will happen.  Other people will see and perhaps decide to join in your efforts to reduce waste.  And two, by reducing your contribution to landfills, you can eat fast food guilt free!


You should join Toastmasters

You should join Toastmasters

Toastmasters is a club that guides members to improve their public speaking. Here I am giving this blog posting as a speech, pretending I’m doing an editorial newscast. I’m not perfect, but I am improving!

(If you are already a Toastmaster, do you hear the Word of the Day that I say in the first few sentences of my speech?)

Word of the Day = ubiquitous. Existing or being everywhere (adjective).

Are you hungry yet? What steps will you reasonably take to cut back on your waste when you eat fast food?

(Or did I mean ‘waist’?)