your kids teeth, or lack of....

so I have always been wanting to tell the story of why our son doesn't have two front teeth, I wish that I could say it was something interesting like he went head to head with a rhino or something...but really it's all our fault. so to save you from the same horrible feeling I get whenever we brush that empty hole of no front teeth...consider this your warning!

when our son finished breastfeeding we decided to give him a sippy cup of rice milk at night, how nice and reassuring right?...WRONG...the combination of the rice milk at bedtime and the fact that we used to give it to him in a sippy cup because we thought it was better than a bottle...again WRONG...gave him two rotten teeth up front. and we didn't really notice it one day until I was brushing his teeth and the middle part of both front teeth kind of just dropped away... I just stared at his mouth agape and was astonished! ...did this really just happen?

yes it did. The combination of rice milk and the sippy cup, which if you use those kind that don't spill (handy you thought right?) kids tend to lay these up against their front teeth and pull the liquid through the holes. a bottle is better as the nipple goes behind the teeth, but still not good enough because it should have been WATER! Water is really the best drink for kids up to the age of 25 (just kidding) but really, you should get your kids used to it right away and make your life a whole lot easier! yes, the milk sounds nice and comforting but you aren't doing anyone any favors.

(the dentist just pulled them out, just in case you were wondering, it wasn't that difficult and not too many tears but having to tell the story each time some asks him "oh, honey looks like you've had a visit with the tooth fairy" that's when it gets painful!)

I hope that this is helpful information and please share your kids teeth comments!


got tomatos! here is an easy tomato tart!

It seems that lately all we have in abundance from our local organic farm co-op is tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes! And, I have to tell you that my kids (and us) are pretty sick and tired of the same old tomato sauce spaghetti dish.... argh! So, I pulled out some old recipes and this is certainly one of my favorites from martha stewart (yes, I love her!) I made a few changes but I think this is easy and really fun and a good thing to bring to parties. The kids, and my husband, couldn't get enough of the stuff! So, next time you are up to your ears in simple pasta dishes - give this one a try.... it doesn't take long - promise!

1 head of garlic (or crushed garlic if you don't have the time to bake it beforehand)
Some olive oil to hand
All-Purpose Flour, for dusting (organic unbleached if possible)
Pie Dough (see pate brisee below you only have to use half, use the other half for an apple pie!)
2 ounces or half cup (more if you like very cheesy) grated Fontina Cheese
1 1/2 pounds of ripe tomatoes (about 4-5 decent sized) cored and sliced up
Salt and Pepper (some oregano if you like)

1. If you are going to bake the garlic then allow for about 45 minutes to pre-prepare in oven at 350 degrees. After garlic is
cooled off enough to handle squeeze garlic out of skins and into a cup or bowl - mash it up for later use. Otherwise, what I do if I don't have the time is use crushed garlic that I cook a bit in a skillet with some oil (and chopped onion if you like).
2. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick circle (or to fit your cooking pan) - mine is about 12 inches diameter. Line the pan with dough
and trim so that there is no overhang - cool it off for about 20-30 minutes in fridge or outside while you prepare other ingredients.
3. Spread garlic evenly on chilled dough in pan. Sprinkle with half of cheese. Arrange tomatoes evenly out over the cheese and garlic - slightly overlapping. Salt and Pepper to your liking. Sprinkle the rest of your cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Put in oven and bake at 400 degrees until crust is golden brown and tomatoes are soft but still in shape - usually about 45 minutes at most. Cool it off a bit before serving..... if anyone can wait!

Delicious and fairly simple - and a nice change from the normal! I serve mine with a salad and everyone gobbles it up!
Let me know if you have any questions.

Pate Brisee:
I love her recipe for pate brisee and I use it for everything! its easy and made with just basic ingredients, I also don't use a food proccessor, I just use my hands...it all works the same!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.


PETA suggests Ben and Jerry's use human breast milk!!

Any nursing mothers need to earn some extra cash? PETA,  wanting to bring some attention to the plight of dairy cows, suggested in a recent letter that Ben and Jerry's start using human mother's milk in its product. It is certainly a strange request, and hardly something that will take place anytime soon - but it does remind us how very good for you Mother's Milk can be!! And, it does remind us as well of the general treatment continuing in factory farming that many of us continue to take for granted... not to mention the potential side effects associated with cow's milk. That said, it is somewhat odd for PETA to single out Ben and Jerry's isn't it? As far as I understand, Ben and Jerry's have a pretty good track record for having a progressive and considerate business model, don't they? Anyway, I've reproduced the letter below for your interest - what do you think?

September 23, 2008
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, Cofounders Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.
Dear Mr. Cohen and Mr. Greenfield,
On behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters, I'd like to bring your attention to an innovative new idea from Switzerland that would bring a unique twist to Ben and Jerry's.
Storchen restaurant is set to unveil a menu that includes soups, stews, and sauces made with at least 75 percent breast milk procured from human donors who are paid in exchange for their milk. If Ben and Jerry's replaced the cow's milk in its ice cream with breast milk, your customers-and cows-would reap the benefits.
Using cow's milk for your ice cream is a hazard to your customer's health. Dairy products have been linked to juvenile diabetes, allergies, constipation, obesity, and prostate and ovarian cancer. The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America's leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding cow's milk to children, saying it may play a role in anemia, allergies, and juvenile diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease-America's number one cause of death.
Animals will also benefit from the switch to breast milk. Like all mammals, cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy, so to be able to constantly milk them, cows are forcefully impregnated every nine months. After several years of living in filthy conditions and being forced to produce 10 times more milk than they would naturally, their exhausted bodies are turned into hamburgers or ground up for soup.
And of course, the veal industry could not survive without the dairy industry. Because male calves can't produce milk, dairy farmers take them from their mothers immediately after birth and sell them to veal farms, where they endure 14 to17 weeks of torment chained inside a crate so small that they can't even turn around.
The breast is best! Won't you give cows and their babies a break and our health a boost by switching from cow's milk to breast milk in Ben and Jerry's ice cream? Thank you for your consideration.

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President


my little animals...oh, I mean my kids!

I am just wondering if this phenomenon played itself out in your house a much as it did in ours during this back-to-school time.... Our six year old son started first grade this year at our local public school, I love the school, so don't get me wrong here, but my son came home the first two weeks of school like a wild animal! I was kind of floored by it and wasn't prepared for this totally bonkers kid in our home, and of course our three year daughter just fell in line and bounced around like a nut as well! I found myself thinking, 'who ARE these kids?!' and I wanted to write about it, firstly to share the craziness and secondly to warn those parents out there who have not yet entered first grade.

As I was talking to friends and neighbors about it, and it came to me while talking about it that hhmmm, this happened last year too! when kindergarten started only to a lesser degree... he came home and kind of lost his rhythm and became more akin to an animal and not a kid. One night my husband and I started talking about it and I was telling him that I was thinking of locking him in a cage (not literally, just to prove my point that it was getting crazy!) and as we talked about it we realized that these kids, especially in first grade are just starting to sit down and learn instead of playing all day and it's a BIG step for them and so when they come home after being in their straight jackets all day long they are just beyond themselves about what to do and even if you are there to point them into a certain direction, they just can't even focus on that and...well they become a bit wild.

So here is what we decided to do, when he came home from school we went straight outside; down to the beach, flying a kite, riding bikes, anything as long as it's outside. And that was all that it took, by the time he came inside the wildness was out of him, we had played together for a bit and he was more ready to be our wonderful son again (I say this also because I don't want you to think our kids are animals, they are sweet, considerate, polite and thoughtful... most of the time!)

I am sure that there are books about this, I just haven't read them! but I didn't want anyone else to be alone in this and thinking that your kids are bonkers! hang in there and they will figure it out... eventually! I talked to my son about it the other day and I asked him "what was going on in there?" and you know what he told me... "life is hard mom" I don't know where he got that but I was happy that I thought to say "that's why we all need to be nice to each other... because life is hard, so let's listen to each other and be nice to each other and it will be better".

please share your comments.. if you have had this happen in your home and how you felt and any ideas on what to do!?


herban essentials to the rescue!

Lately the germ wars have been on my mind, in our house we are not really the anti-bacterial kind of folk, but I do believe in clean hands and when we lived in NYC I always remember being in a conundrum on this issue, for some reason public bathrooms seemed more full of germs than anywhere else... now there is a new product on the scene Herban Essentials to our rescue! I love these guys, they made the towelette good looking and somehow not shameful! These are just the handiest and I certainly wouldn't travel without them!

speaking of travel, if you happen to have a fear of such, they make a wonderful 'fear of flying' kit which I happen to not be in fear of, but I would consider it just for the magical essential oil scents that come from Herban Essentials. I have lots of other fears that I need to talk to the guys at Herban Essentials about like... how about "fear that my 6 year old will never read!" okay I'm kidding a bit but maybe a general "fear and please calm down remedy!" -- Herban Essentials uses the highest quality, 100% pure, therapeutic grade, steam distilled or cold pressed essential oils. We make a constant effort to obtain organic, wild-grown oils from American farmers whenever possible. Our products are made in the USA, are cruelty free and are never tested on animals. Each towelette is infused with essential oils and in addition to the lovely pleasing scents, essential oils are endowed with antibacterial, antiseptic, and unique therapeutic properties.
Thank you so much Herban Essentials for bringing us something totally essential and that I don't think anyone wants to live without! and it's handy, fits in our bags and has beautiful graphics (I always love that) so I'm not ashamed to pull them out and actually I end up showing them off to just about anyone!

visit the herban essentials website here

or shop for them here


bloom house--everyones perfect weekend retreat!

Whenever we have visitors to our home in Rhode Island, we inevitably start talking about them moving up here... so now I have done a bit of research for you'all, I have found a wonderful small lot down by the ocean and then all you would have to do is add this 'BLOOMhouse' and you will be set! The BLOOMhouse is the perfect small summer/anytime vacation home (or look into a double-wide version for family), and totally off the grid... what else could you ask for! so to all of you thinking about finding a house 'somewhere', this is such a great idea for a home and all you need is the lot to put it on!

I found this story in this weeks 'Treehugger' emailer (if you don't already get treehugger, sign up now here!):

While astronomers at the Macdonald Observatory in Fort Davis, TX are studying the solar system, the BLOOMhouse has one of its own. Nestled high up on a mountaintop outside of Fort Davis, TX is where the solar powered BLOOMhouse now resides.

The BLOOMhouse was one of the entries in the biennial Solar Decathlon that was held in Washington D.C. last year to demonstrate the power of the sun to our governing bodies and public. The competition challenges 20 universities from around the world to design and build the most attractive and energy-efficient dwelling.

The BLOOMhouse is now a part of the MacDonald Observatory complex, a world class and world renown astronomical facility in the highlands of Far West Texas…far from city lights or pollution. While the astronomers at the facility observe the details of our sun and distant suns, Sam Covey and Hap Pfeil are revisiting their school project to observe the Sun’s capacity to keep their house "alive." I met Sam and Hap at the Living With Nature Festival in Marathon, TX where they gave a presentation about the project. They invited me to see it. Hap describes the BLOOMhouse as the ‘muscle car’ of solar houses, meaning that the solar energy being harvested and stored is far more than what the house actually needs. During the competition, all of the excess power was used to test its functionality as well as power an electric vehicle, but now the large solar array will be used to power a nearby dwelling at the observatory as well as the BLOOMhouse.

I was fortunate to spend a sunset and a sunrise at the BLOOMhouse to see for myself.
When we arrived, Sam pointed out that the batteries were way overcharged. Even though the state-of-the-art inverters are set up to divert the excess energy to the three hot water heaters and outdoor Dutch Tub (which can hold five people by the way), there was still too much charge in the batteries. Our job was to waste as much energy as we could to bring the energy stored in the battery bank back down to a safe level. We left the doors open, while we used the AC, the microwave, the full size freezer/refrigerator, the convection counter stove and oven, and we also had music playing through the giant plasma flatscreen TV for hours. Hap even let the on-demand water heater run for an hour to heat the Dutch Tub. By morning, we were able to bring the energy storage to just above its ideal limit capacity. But by then, the sun was beginning to rise again and restart the cycle. Once the sun gets through its morning stretching routine, the up to 5 KILOwatts the panels gather, prevents any appliances from accessing the battery bank. At that point, all the power comes directly from the panels. Even the most wasteful occupant couldn’t use more than the energy the panels can capture. Did I mention the plug in electric cart outside? It doesn’t put a dent in the system.

Because of the surplus of energy created from the solar panels, which cover no more space than the roof of this 550square foot house, it was decided that they will hook the neighboring house up to theirs as well as maybe one other orbiting structure to help balance things out. This is the best immediate solution, being that the grid out here in this remote region isn’t set up for uploading yet.

Following is a short interview with Sam Covey, who was part of the student team who engineered, built, and installed the BLOOMhouse.

TreeHugger: This house was designed for a very specific project assignment that called for a solar only house. When you eventually buy, or rather, design and build a house of your own, what will it be like? How will it be powered, etc?

Sam Covery: Part of the goal of this project was not only to show people the new innovative technologies, but also to change the public’s mind on housing. Putting aside all the cool gadgets we employed, the best and simplest way to reduce your energy load is to reduce your household footprint . The less space you have, the less lighting, heating, and cooling-the major energy requirements of a household-are needed. We designed a simple 550 sq.ft. dwelling demonstrating that very little space is needed for couple or single inhabitant. We created a huge open deck outside, expanding the exterior into an outdoor living room, but still keeping the interior conditioned space to a minimum. But back to the question, I would most likely build a simple small house that has high quality windows and insulation, large outdoor spaces and shading, and energy-efficient appliance. The real trick to energy saving is not cutting-edge technology, but simply reducing the demand for electricity.

TH: Why don’t we see more solar houses like this one in our neighborhoods?

SC: There are a few reason why solar isn’t popping up everywhere. First, the reason everyone knows, the economics of solar create a long pay back period. The city of Austin has rebate program and incentives, so I have seen more solar installations here, but still the upfront cost is prohibitive. There needs to be more inclusive incentives and encouragement to get the public to embrace these new ideas. Second, not all locations are cut out for solar. Many places are full of trees, and shading the house saves lots on cooling costs in the summer. In the future I am interested to see if a community based approach to energy production will take root. Neighborhoods could cooperatively pool resources and place panels on the houses or structures in the sunny spots, while other house in shaded spots could share the power source.

TH: In your presentation, you mentioned that $300,000 worth of materials were donated for this project. How much do you think it would cost for someone to build a more practical, non-muscle version of this house, or in other words, a solar powered house that meets the needs of the residents and not much more?

SC: Actually one part of the ten competitions in the Solar Decathlon is dedicated to this question. We were not only required to design and build the cutting-edge prototype house for the competition, but also design a more economical version that would be available to a typical American. Our house does carry a hefty price tag, but after you cut out the designer cabinets and other high-end finishes, cut the solar array by a third, and remove the battery bank along with a few other cost cutting ideas; this simple, energy-efficient house is much more attainable. One of the major cost saving items was to create a mass produced version. Since the BLOOMhouse is already designed on a mobile home chassis, probably making it the most technologically advanced and energy-efficient single-wide in Texas, we wanted to make the economical one a mobile home as well. By building it in a factory, the costs were cut drastically, and the houses would be ready to be shipped anywhere. After the concept house was scaled back and the economies of scale of manufacturing were applied, we reduced the price of the house to just under $120,000, making it very affordable. We also included plans to create a “double-wides” where two segments link together forming a large family household.
(this is an image of the side of the home which opens to free access to the storage system and water heaters, etc..)

sign up for the Treehugger emailer here
visit the article at Treehugger here
visit the BLOOMhouse website here


United Nations Says Eat Less Meat to Curb Global Warming

Our family is not vegetarian. We are aware, though, of how much meat we eat. Usually, it is poultry or fish. And, lately, we have been trying to reduce the amount of meat we all eat. An average week now sees us eating a type of poultry 2 times a week, and fish another 2 times. For a special occasion we might have Red Meat, bu that meat is from a local source. The rest of the time we try to make something without meat - concentrating on vegetables or making something with Seitan or Tofu. We are not perfect, but we feel better for reducing the amount of meat we eat. And, I'm sure many of you might agree, we could even do better. We did this with a conscious effort to reduce meat in our diet, especially red. Now, after reading an article today in the Guardian Newspaper from the UK, we also just might be helping the earth's environment too!

"People should have one meat-free day a week if they want to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change, the world's leading authority on global warming has told The Observer Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which last year earned a joint share of the Nobel Peace Prize, said that people should then go on to reduce their meat consumption even further. His comments are the most controversial advice yet provided by the panel on how individuals can help tackle global warning.

Pachauri, who was re-elected the panel's chairman for a second six-year term last week, said diet change was important because of the huge greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems - including habitat destruction - associated with rearing cattle and other animals. It was relatively easy to change eating habits compared to changing means of transport, he said.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation has estimated that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. These are generated during the production of animal feeds, for example, while ruminants, particularly cows, emit methane, which is 23 times more effective as a global warming agent than carbon dioxide. The agency has also warned that meat consumption is set to double by the middle of the century.
'In terms of immediacy of action and the feasibility of bringing about reductions in a short period of time, it clearly is the most attractive opportunity,' said Pachauri. 'Give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease it from there,' said the Indian economist, who is a vegetarian.

However, he also stressed other changes in lifestyle would help to combat climate change. 'That's what I want to emphasise: we really have to bring about reductions in every sector of the economy. 'Pachauri can expect some vociferous responses from the food industry to his advice, though last night he was given unexpected support by Masterchef presenter and restaurateur John Torode, who is about to publish a new book, John Torode's Beef. 'I have a little bit and enjoy it,' said Torode. 'Too much for any person becomes gluttony. But there's a bigger issue here: where [the meat] comes from. If we all bought British and stopped buying imported food we'd save a huge amount of carbon emissions.'

Tomorrow, Pachauri will speak at an event hosted by animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming, which has calculated that if the average UK household halved meat consumption that would cut emissions more than if car use was cut in half. The group has called for governments to lead campaigns to reduce meat consumption by 60 per cent by 2020. Campaigners have also pointed out the health benefits of eating less meat. The average person in the UK eats 50g of protein from meat a day, equivalent to a chicken breast and a lamb chop - a relatively low level for rich nations but 25-50 per cent more than World Heath Organisation guidelines.

Professor Robert Watson, the chief scientific adviser for the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, who will also speak at tomorrow's event in London, said government could help educate people about the benefits of eating less meat, but it should not 'regulate'. 'Eating less meat would help, there's no question about that, but there are other things,' Watson said.
However, Chris Lamb, head of marketing for pig industry group BPEX, said the meat industry had been unfairly targeted and was working hard to find out which activities had the biggest environmental impact and reduce those. Some ideas were contradictory, he said - for example, one solution to emissions from livestock was to keep them indoors, but this would damage animal welfare. 'Climate change is a very young science and our view is there are a lot of simplistic solutions being proposed,' he said.

Last year a major report into the environmental impact of meat eating by the Food Climate Research Network at Surrey University claimed livestock generated 8 per cent of UK emissions - but eating some meat was good for the planet because some habitats benefited from grazing. It also said vegetarian diets that included lots of milk, butter and cheese would probably not noticeably reduce emissions because dairy cows are a major source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas released through flatulence." (Juliette Jowit, www.guardian.co.uk)


The Nonchalantdad: Liberation through a touch of Libation!!

Parents... I must tell you. I'm not exactly one of those who starts doing cart-wheels or collapses on the floor in relief (you know who you are!) when the kids are finally dropped off at the bus stop, or school, after a long summer.... but, there is a part of me that is certainly thankful for a bit of breathing space.

We've had a wonderful summer with our two children. We've managed to spend an inordinate amount of time at the beach this year. We've managed to travel - even getting the kids to Disneyland for some much deserved fun while we visited family in Southern California (disclaimer: my wife is not a fan of the place)..... you name it we did it, almost. It felt like we did not have one day without rest!

But, our youngest is now starting pre-school this year and our oldest is hitting the first grade. For the first time, both are occupied and learning or playing for 6 hours straight! With a nod to you parents who are home-schooling, I must admit that having that time back, without juggling parental schedules, is something of a pleasant relief.... So, with a touch of celebration in mind (if not because the kids are in school again, but because you made it through another full- time summer with the kids!) I salute you with a small remedy for all your hard work.

We call this drink the 'Slow Down'. What makes it sort of special is that we concocted it on the spot from ingredients we already had available. So, you can change it to your liking. The main thing is to make a special toast and take a deep breath. Go on, you deserve it.... just be careful not to make it before you collect the kids... We said we want you to relax - not lose your senses! Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce to you the one and only 'SLOW DOWN' : Start with shaker or something of the sort. take a small amount of Vodka (or whatever you have at hand), add a smaller amount of your favourite juice or juice concentrate (just a pinch if using concentrate).... we only had a juice box to use at the time....how funny is that!?! Then add a Squeeze of fresh lemon (or orange) and shake it up with lot of ice for that chilled effect. If you have some mineral water, just add a touch of that to finish it off. Then, take your funkiest glasses (we used some glasses we found recently at a flea market) and chill them for a moment in the freezer. Take the glasses and using the citrus you used prior dip the rim for some moistness. Then turn the glasses upside down and tip into your favourite sugar for some sweet follow up. Then pour the cocktail mix into the glasses just near to the rim.... and then garnish with a bit of the citrus and BANG - the perfect remedy for the Nonchalantmom or dad.... Make a toast, sit back, take a big breath and enjoy. Then, if you are like me, I'll return to the bedroom to change my trousers after discovering that I sat down on some silly putty..... hmmm!

Congratulations from your friends at Nonchalantmom, and remember - drink responsibly!



I often get the question..."how do you run your business and be with your kids too?" and I thought this was a perfect time to answer that question as it's back to school time! I think that there is always good and bad to every situation, and Karim and I both have our own businesses and therefore have a fairly flexible schedule. We both do our best to spend as much time with the kids as we can, but I found that when we tried to work and play it's really not fair to the kids because it's not really quality time. I remember the first time that I realized it, I was carving pumpkins outside with Sander and suddenly it came to my attention that I was giving him my full attention for the first time in a long time, previously I had always been trying to work and play and never really giving him my full attention (I usually got frustrated and couldn't play well and I'm certain it was no fun for him). It was a little like a slap in the face...and I knew we had to work this out because it was so much more fun to really be present when I was playing with him! This is just about when we decided to move the store from our guest house into town and open the main street store (but that's another story).

My husband is an artist, and his studio is on our property but in a separate building, which helps. I, on the other hand, go into town to my shop. We split up our time so that six days a week we switch off getting up in the morning with the kids (we are both not morning people), getting them ready for school and then it's off to work for both of us, then at 3:00 the person who got to sleep in is on duty, we always have dinner together at the table but the night person has shower, brush teeth and bedtime duty as well. And then we switch off for the next day. This is perfect as each of us has time for with the kids alone to play and go to the beach or whatever and then the next day I get to concentrate on work. We both go to the schools so that we know what's going on there for each of them. The schedule is pretty clear-cut and you always know what you are doing and we can both schedule our working time. Sunday is always a family day and whatever we do it's always together! It's pretty simple but works really well, no resentment, no guilt and we can both get our work done.

I think that even if one person is going off to work it's nice to give them that scheduled time to be with the kids in a daily way, brushing teeth, making breakfast, etc. and how nice, even if one parent is the designated 'at home' person, to respect each others time and just give each other that time alone. I am convinced it makes me a better parent because when I am with my kids I am totally there and not trying to get to my computer to answer emails.