Super Bowl Sunday, February 5th

As a Wisconsin native, I have genetically acquired a passion for the Green Bay Packers.   The last “small town” football team,  the Green Bay Packers are the only non-profit community owned major league sports team in the United States.    Growing up, church followed by the Packers was a Sunday tradition.   It was much the same up and down the street – no traffic on the freeways, neighborhood bars raucous and rocking well into the evening.

The only thing better than a Sunday Packer game was Super Bowl Sunday – a party and a game – two, two, two mints in one!  Venison sausage and chips, soda and Pabst.  Spray cheese in a can.  No dinner tonite, Super Bowl Sunday was the highlight of frigid Wisconsin Januarys. 

As my grown-up family evolved, my household still rocked on Packer Sundays.   My husband took over the remote most Sundays, the better to regurgitate that last play.  But Super Bowl Sunday was watched without a pause, the better to catch the now wildly expensive, much hyped commercials.

You can watch most of the Super Bowl commercials on YouTube, but it was much more fun to catch them the first time around.  Sometimes touching, often funny, the best of these commercials have been viewed so many times, these sponsors surely made their investments back many times over.   Off the top of my head –

1973 – Noxzema Shaving Cream featuring Joe Namath and a lovely unknown, Farrah Fawcett

1980 – Pittsburgh’s Mean Joe Greene trading his game winning jersey for a Coke from an adorable young fan

1993- Michael Jordan and Larry Bird shooting an out of this world game of HORSE

2002 – Those magnificent Budweiser Clydesdales, bowing in tribute to the 9/11 New York skyline

Not always successful, some were too obscure, stupid or just plain boring to warrant the million dollar price tags; you have to wonder how many of these ad execs still had a job on Monday morning.    The dot com commercials of 2000 spring to mind…

We’ll be watching this Sunday, calling out our favorites before the pundits get to it on Monday.   See you there!

Parental Evesdropping Allowed

Now that my children are grown, hopefully to become parents themselves someday, I am slowing leaking out some of my most spot on child rearing practices.  I certainly had some that tanked right out of the gate (which will never be revealed in print), but I do like to share the ones that worked. 

Suburban car trips to soccer fields, choir practice and mundane childhood errands can eat up a whole bunch of hours.  The driver, for the most part, is cloaked in a shield of invisibility.  Once you’re in the front seat and the kids are in the back, you could be on Mars for all they know.  This is to your advantage.

Kids feel free to carry on conversations that would not occur in your presence in your home in a million years.  You will learn who is fighting with whom, who likes whom and who was really bad on the field today.  You will hear lyrics to songs you didn’t know your kids had heard.  And you will hear more about your child’s friend’s parents than you really wanted to know.

For some reason, I thought all parents knew this.  Until one day my husband broke the spell.  As I sat next to him in the front, he innocently joined in the conversation tumbling out in the back seat.  All conversation stopped, the kids shocked to realize we were actually in the car with them.  I turned, mouth agap, to look at him.  The conversation slowly resumed in the back seat, turned now to a topic appropriate for parental ears.

After the kids had offloaded at home, I kept my husband in the car.  “We never speak while driving more than one child.  We are there only to obtain information.  How do you think I know all the stuff I know were it not for car rides?” 

Maybe it’s just a Mom thing.  My husband is never one to pass up a good conversation and to this day spends much more time on the phone with them then I do.  I guess that’s why it takes two parents…

Snow Fort

I’m not going to brag here, but these ambitious lads from the ‘60’s had nothing on the snow architecture us girls could whip up on a wintery afternoon.  I’ll give ‘em props for the verticality they’ve got going on, but us girls across the street were laying out living rooms and kitchens, complete with connecting tunnels, threshholds and windows. 

Do your kids still make snow forts?  Is there still enough snow somewhere to do this? 

Like most kids in the ‘60’s, we were constantly shooed outside to “go find something to do”.  Weather was no excuse for the five of us to stay in, cozy in front of Saturday morning cartoons.  By noon, Mom was in her cleaning mode; we were either going to be drafted into cleaning or guided out the back door.  Once the five of us staggered out in our Michelin show gear, all the other Moms had license to say, “the Kelley kids are out, you kids can go out and play too!”, starting a cavalcade of equally insulated little ones, shoulder high to the plowed drifts.

The key to great snow architecture was to start right next to where the driveway was plowed, excavating from the huge mounds rather than building from the ground up.  If it was a sunny, calm day, the insulating effect of our snow cocoon would keep us occupied for hours, serving our make-believe dinners and teaching our pretend children their manners. 

The boys would be whizzing around outside, pelting each other’s forts with stockpiled snow ammunition.  If you left the safety of your snow house, you’d first have to call “Time!” and then run in to use the real bathroom.  If you don’t call Time, it’s open season on you, buddy.

Man, that was fun!  You need a whole convergence of things to come together to make memories like that.  A weekend or holiday afternoon, just the right temperature, just the right snow moisture level.   I don’t know that we shoo our kids outside as much today.  As parents we have to make sure there is time in our kids schedules to do nothing.  Sometimes boredom is the springboard to dreams, creativity, making memories.

Rhubarb Cobbler

This mild winter up north has got me thinking about spring gardens - thinking mind you, not planning.  I haven’t had a vegetable garden since I moved to Florida, but I do remember several years of a white picket fenced garden in Wisconsin, lots more fun in concept than in reality. 

Getting out at the first sign of warm weather, planting and tilling and cleaning up; that was all fun.  And of course reaping what we had sown, sharing the excess tomatoes and zucchini, fresh salads every night, very cool.  It’s that part in the middle - the weeding, bug killing, bunny prevention - that gets pretty old by the 4th of July.

I did love the corner patch of rhubarb that we had, planted by some previous owner, that came up every spring without any effort on my part.  Technically a vegetable (I had to look that up!) it was ripe for picking by June.  I think we only ate the raw stalks on a dare, but cooked down with some fresh strawberries and sugar - out of this world in a Rhubarb Cobbler.  People don’t make Rhubarb Cobbler much anymore; only a handful of recipes on my favorite recipe website.  


A lot of the baking I whipped up in the 70’s seems to have been either a very midwestern thing or maybe just the food fad of that period.  Zucchini or Apple Bread - when’s the last time you brought a loaf of that in to work?  It’s more of a healthy eating/calorie thing now, but it was so satisfying to put together something special, straight from your garden. 

For those of you lucky and ambitious enough to cultivate your own vegetable patch every spring, I am a bit envious.  You might want to leave a bit of room for this rich in Vitamin C, fiberous perennial and start your own rhubarb tradition!

How about BOSCO in the glass jar with the pump up top that pumps the chocolate syrup into your glass ? THANKS ! RANDY in NJ

It’s always more fun to see these old favorites in their original containers, isn’t it?  Bosco is currently only available in the plastic bottles we offer, but you can get a good look at these nostalgic containers at