“When Good Fruit Goes Bad” wants to come to a virtual reading near you!

I have some exciting news(yes more)….

I have been working closely with some great people including my wonderful wife, Dr. Tresha, to create some more content around “When Good Fruit Goes Bad”, and it has resulted in 3 brand new videos that focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons based on the book.   (with a few more to come)

The first 3 videos cover: Feeling Angry, Feeling Confident, and Feeling Worried and are now up on my YouTube Channel coolminivandad (like and subscribe if you can)

Many of you are still in the midst of kids being all virtual, all-remote, or some combo of both, so if you are looking for fun content that can be discussion points for you and your kids, we hope these videos can be a good start.  

For those of you who might not know (like me), SEL is an integral part of education and human development.  SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.  SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.

I also want to bring the message of “When Good Fruit Goes bad” to as many kids(and adults) as I can, so I am making myself available for FREE virtual readings thru Zoom/Google Classroom for your kids and their schools/pods/daycares.  The book is geared towards elementary age children, grades K-5, and it has messages about eating healthy, creating less waste and knowing that you have worth and values in spite of your bumps, bruises and scars.  There is no such thing as a “perfect’ apple.    I am already lined up for a reading at my kids school in April, and I want to connect with schools everywhere I can!

I am available to do 30-minute group storytimes that can be customized based on the age of the students and can include:

– an interactive reading of the book

-Q&A about the book, characters, and themes

-puppet show 

-fun fruit facts and trivia

-fruit jokes and riddles

-lessons on how to draw characters from book 

The lessons of “When Good Fruit Goes Bad” can be used as a starting point for parents, guardians and educators alike to start discussions around wellness of both body and mind, speaking up for yourself, caring about the health of others, and much more.   

If you think this could be a good fit for your kids and their school email me at coolminivandad@gmail.com to help set up something up for the Spring or beyond.

coolminivandad on TV! (and YouTube of course)

In the last few weeks, I have had the honor of being on 2 great programs. OPEN BX with the Legendary “Dr” Bob Lee of WLBS and I followed that up with an appearance on PERSPECTIVES with the amazing Daren Jaime. I was able to talk about being a stay-at- home dad, writing, parenting and now being a published author.

You can see both appearances at the links below. Please support and like!

PERSPECTIVES with Daren Jaime on Bronxnet TV


OPEN BX with Bob Lee on Bronxnet TV

What is your perspective?

(originally published January 27, 2021 for City Dads Group)

I thought 2020 had run out of curveballs to toss by the holiday season. So around Thanksgiving our family decided to tackle a home renovation project: updating our basement.

While the bad lighting, 1970s carpet and tombstone gray wall panels had served us fine for our first three years in this house, we needed a change. A contractor friend helped us with the plans and, by mid-December, the renovations were going pretty well.

One evening after the workers had left, I started making one of my favorite dinners for the family: smash burgers! Cooking them tends create a smoky house so, as that predictably happened, I turned on the hallway fan to pull some of the smoke out of the house. But as dinner preparations wrapped up, an alarm went off. Not the smoke alarm as expected, but the carbon monoxide alarm. That can also happen with smoky cooking; however, after several minutes of opening doors and windows, the CO alarm continued ringing.

My wife and I decided to call the gas company, moving dinner with the kids to out in the car until they arrived. About 10 minutes later, as we gobbled our burgers and air fryer potato wedges in our minivan, a gas rep showed up. He examined our 25-year-old boiler which we had hoped had one more winter in it, and measured the levels of CO it emitted. He then asked me what level of CO was considered safe. I told him zero. He agreed, noting that up to five parts per million (ppm) is acceptable but it still should be at zero.

Our boiler was emitting 4,000 ppm. Had the CO alarm not gone off, my family and I would not have seen the next morning.

After some failed attempts at repairs the next day, the boiler was replaced, an expense we did not foresee having to deal with.

A damp vantage point

A few days after the boiler incident, Christmas Eve came to our New Jersey town along with some of the strongest winds I have ever heard. The house felt like it was going to be pulled right off of its foundation. After a harrowing night of weather, the house was intact; Santa still managed to deliver, but from my point of view our backyard fence looked like an elephant had sat on it.

After a call to our insurance company, some backyard cleaning and the opening of presents, my wife decided to take care on the seemingly never-ending laundry. Near the end of the wash cycle, she headed to the garage for something and she was greeted with half an inch of water creeping across the floor. One of the pipes from the washer had dislodged. Instead of water exiting through the plumbing, it spilled out directly on to the floor and into the garage.

All this while we were still trying to finish packing for a ski trip to New Hampshire that required us leaving our seemingly cursed home for almost a week.

But were we cursed? Was it bad mojo? Would our travels end with a broken leg or a flat tire?

My mind and my wife’s raced with these kinds of thoughts as we mopped the garage and soaked up what we could with our precious supply of paper towels. We even thought about canceling our plans to go on our well-needed vacation with our good friends.

But, that “woe is me” attitude only lasted a few minutes. Our point of view changed because our minds quickly began to contemplate all the outcomes of these scenarios that could have been.

Perspective is everything

The boiler broke and was emitting CO, but our multiple alarms SAVED OUR LIVES.  Literally. We have seen it happen on the news time and time again when people don’t have alarms at all, or never change the batteries. The inconvenience of the broken boiler for a few days pales to the tragedy that could have happened.

Our fence fell down, but our home was still standing. We have insurance to help with the cost of repair. How many times have we seen tornados or fires lay waste to entire towns with families only escaping with their lives while an entire lifetime of memories are gone in a flash?

What is a minor garage flood compared to seeing entire homes underwater when riverbanks overflow in hurricanes, forcing people to their rooftops in hope of rescue from the rising water.

Now, it is OK to be upset by your circumstances. You can be angry. You can feel like your world is caving in. You’re allowed to think the elements are out to get you. Not bottling them those feelings is important because not facing those emotions can often make matters worse.

I always try to put things in perspective when it comes to my life and remember how blessed I truly am. As bad as things seem to be at any given time, sometimes the alternative could be worse. If you use the power of perspective to examine where you are in life, where you want to be and where you could be, it will greatly shape how you approach what life throws your way. And, hopefully, it will shed light on a positive way to deal with it.

Life will constantly throw curveballs your way and you won’t hit a home run every time. It’s going to be a lot of base hits and a lot strikeouts. A. LOT. But if you learn from those experience and grow, your chances of hitting it out of the park your next time at the plate might be that much easier.