Bucket List Photo Challenge: Day 135.

Day 135 of my Bucket List Photo Challenge!

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This photo is from one of our school visits earlier this month. Visiting a school is the highlight of my week and my favorite part about being an author. In this photo, the team of volunteers and I are looking at the projection screen to see if our answers are correct! Tomorrow is our final school visit of the 2012-2013 school year… time has flown since our first one in Des Moines, Iowa back in September!

We’ll call this picture SCHOOL and scratch it off the list!

Here is the complete list for the month of May:

Wild

School

Fearless

Wonder

Farm

Historic

Light

Bright

Scary

Reading

Tree

Flowers

Rare

Verse

Weeds

BBQ

Laugh

Storm

Play

Time

Treasure

Talent

Friendship

Animal

Excitement

Pure

Dirty

Bargain

Improvement

Forward

May Photo Challenge

Remember, let me know here if you’re doing a Bucket List Photo Challenge in 2013. And upload your photo to Twitter using #BucketListPhotoChallenge

Please let me know if you’re participating so I can give you a shout-out here!

Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com 

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Kids on Vacation?

Lately, I’ve really been enjoying reading and following the blog of John Heald. John is the senior cruise director at Carnival Cruise Lines. He is also very active on Facebook. If you’re addicted to cruising like I am, check him out. Even if you’re not a fan of Carnival, you’ll learn a lot about cruises, the industry and the opinions of your fellow travelers.

That last part— the opinions of your fellow travelers— that’s the most interesting part.

John answers questions from folks that have had issues or bad experiences… and it is so very amusing to me the little things that happen and people actually allow these little things to ruin their vacation.

For example, one gentleman complained that the complimentary fruit basket that was sent to his room didn’t come with a knife. Now, if you’ve been on a cruise, you know that one would have several options to fix this small issue. Dining room, buffet, room service, specialty restaurants— there would be access to a knife at any of these.

Another woman said that because Carnival had discontinued the practice of giving away temporary tattoos to children that her vacation experience was completely shattered! Her kids cried “real tears,” according to this poor, distraught housewife. I’m sorry. But if your kids are going to throw a shit-fit over temporary tattoos, something tells me they haven’t been raised properly.

And then there are those that troll John’s Facebook, seemingly with the sole mission of bating others into arguing by dismissing Carnival’s customers as “classless.” This seems to be quite the pastime on other cruise lines, as well. For instance, I sailed with Royal Caribbean last year. During the muster drill, a gentleman near me said, “well, if you like traveling with drunk truck drivers, Carnival is the way to go!” Granted, this is the same sailing that nearly every fellow traveler I met was obsessed with their (and everyone else’s) loyalty club status. I don’t know how many times I heard, “well, I’m a Pinnacle member!” My response? I’m a Sam’s Club member!

I’ve traveled with Carnival, Princess, Norwegian, Costa, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. Let me say this: there are different types of people on any cruise line. But I find that the crowd differs more based on where your ship departs from, not which cruise line you are traveling. And for those that claim Carnival attracts a low-class crowd because they’re “cheap”: I’ve gotten just as good of deals on every other cruise line mentioned— you just have to dig (and have a few connections!). My favorite cruise remains the one I took with Celebrity. There was just a focus on customer service that shined like nothing I’ve ever seen. If I ever again feel the need to be pampered and treated like royalty, I’ll spring for Celebrity again. But Carnival is where my loyalty lies because of the purely FUN atmosphere that they present.

Now that I’ve breathlessly presented you with my cruising history, let me get to the point of this article… Mr. Heald is currently working on the Carnival Breeze. Of about 4,000 passengers on this sailing, 500 of them are kids. John assumes that some of these kids are home-schooled, but obviously some have been taken out of school to enjoy this vacation. John is from the UK and he says that parents can actually be fined for removing their children from school for a vacation.

This revelation stirred up some discussion immediately. Some folks pointed out that more schools in the US are turning to year-round schedules, with 9 weeks on and 3 weeks off. Take a look at some of the comments:

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Personally, I see no problem with removing your child from school for a week to partake in a vacation with their family. When I was young, my parents took me out of school several times to accompany them on trips to Florida or cruises. My father was older and retired, so in order for him to enjoy retirement and spend time with me and my mom, it was a necessary thing to do. And you know what? I think I learned more from the experiences in traveling than I would have sitting in that 3rd, 4th or 5th grade classroom.

I know for a 100% fact that these trips with my parents affected my life more than elementary math class. My passion is travel. I’ve been a flight attendant for nearly 9 years. I live for taking trips, meeting new people and experiencing new things. None of this would have been sparked in my mind if it hadn’t been for my parents including me in their travels.

In fact, one of my favorite stories about my mother stemmed from one of these vacations. Now, before I tell you this, isn’t it weird the things that we remember from childhood? I was in 4th grade and my parents took me out of school for one week. We drove to Florida, visiting relatives in Georgia, continuing on to Disney and Cape Canaveral where we took the NASA tour before making the drive to Key West and then back up the West Coast of the State. Did I have fun? Yes. Did I learn a lot, too? Yes.

When I returned to school, a week went by and I turned in all of my homework assignments and I was getting into a normal routine. Then a classmate of mine, Erik, was being pulled out of school for a Thursday and Friday. His parents were taking him to Chicago to tour the museums for a long weekend. My teacher, the infamously cranky Ms. Verda Buck, looked right at me and pronounced to the class that Erik’s family, “aren’t the type of parents that would take him out of school for a family, fun vacation!”

Well, drama-starter and loudmouth that I am, I marched right home and told my mother. Conveniently, the following week were parent/teacher conferences. And I had the pleasure of going along to see the shit-show. My mother called Ms. Buck out on the whole thing— and Ms. Buck was speechless with no way to defend her mouth. I’ve never been so proud of my mother. Yes, the last couple months of school were brutal— but to see the look on Buck’s face was worth it all.

What do you think? Is it OK to remove your kids from school for a week for a vacation? What about the UK fining parents for doing so? How about Pennsylvania’s policy of requiring it to be approved by the school board? I’m curious to hear what you think.

 

 

Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com 

My Kid Wants Peanut Butter — to Hell With Your Allergies!

Whoa, Nelly!

Pete the Popcorn co-author Joe Kelley really knows how to open a can of worms. He has a ton of friends on Facebook and I think Joe has “groomed” them to be very opinionated. Joe knows how to rile people on Facebook, throwing out an opinion or two, here or there. This, in turn, makes them a little more comfortable spouting their opinion. Now, this is just my opinion. Get it? This is all about opinions.

Yesterday, Joe asked permission from one of his friends to re-post her status update, to cause a discussion. She said yes, he did, and it went downhill from there. Have a look:

This is the original post…

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And then the show begins:

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My friend Debbie doesn’t usually comment… she doesn’t like to get involved in Facebook Fights and for good reason… they’re usually a waste of time. However, when something gets to her:

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And then we have people, like myself, who want to get to the base reason for all of it: why are these nut allergies simply exploding in our Nation’s youth in recent years?

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Things got more and more heated as the evening wore on, the debate turning at times into a mud-slinging adventure:

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I had to get involved at a few points in time, namely to get to the reasoning of why and how this became a seemingly national epidemic:

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People started throwing out other analogies about different allergies, which irked others to no end:

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And then, a twist of the knife, as Debbie throws in a joke/insult and departs the conversation…

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Carolyn’s comment above struck home… I took it as this: we get this worked up over peanut butter, but allow our kids to play shoot-em-up video games and nobody debates that.

And then, in this epic battle, we have a bomb-thrower… someone that enters the conversation to blow things apart and get people more riled than ever, prompting them to throw out the rulebook and express their true feelings!

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Andrea re-enters the battle… picking apart Shane’s argument piece-by-piece:

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Now enters Brenda, addressing the original letter and calling out the parent that wrote it:

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And the bomb-thrower returns, after a two-hour respite, in an attempt to re-ignite the conversation:

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Finally, the argument winds down, with Jason being a voice of reason for one side of the debate:

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I think I just created a new reality television program. Someone starts a discussion on Facebook about a controversial subject, the people go crazy and there will be a highly-accomplished play-by-play announcer making comments. Could be Fun Friday Facebook Fights… although this one was on a Tuesday. Hmmm.

All-in-all, this thread ended up with 80 comments in the span of about 16 hours… people are passionate.

So, what are your thoughts? Can I re-ignite this Peanut Butter conundrum here? Do you have kids with allergies? How do you and your school handle it? Would you have an issue withholding peanut butter from your child, in order to comply with the needs of another child?

Talk to you soon…

Nick

 

 

Thanks for visiting this blog! As you see, it is not supported by advertising. If you would like to personally support this blog and its authors, please visit Amazon to purchase our Children’s Book, Pete the Popcorn! If you don’t have a child in your life, donate a copy to your local school or library! Also, we LOVE it when people LIKE us on Facebook. To learn more about our books, please visit www.PeteThePopcorn.com