Big Bang Boom is making music that both parents and kids can rock out to. Band members (and dads) Chuck Folds, Steve Willard and Eddie Walker spoke exclusively with Celebrity Parents Magazine about making music for families, how their music has grown with their children and how music keeps them balanced.
Steve: Chuck's oldest son was turning 6 or 7 and Chuck wanted to do something different for the party so we put on a rock show. We learned a few "kiddie" standards and set up a pa and rocked it out. It went over really well so we just kept it going. Chuck had already been writing a few ideas down for some kids songs so he and I did some collaborating and here we are.
What did the music sound like at the beginning and how has it changed over time?
Chuck: I don't think it has changed much. I have been writing music most of my life. I pretty much write what I feel. The subject matter obviously is gonna be different when you are targeting an audience but I think that is one of the cool things about Big Bang Boom. We have never said, "Let's dumb this down for kids." If anything, we've tried to make it more enjoyable for the parents as well as the kids.
Let’s talk about the latest CD, Because I Said So! How is it different from other albums you’ve made?
Eddie: This CD is much more rawer. A better representation of what we do live.
Chuck: When we did the second CD I had just gotten into the "gadgetry" of digital recording. Lots of synths and orchestral types of arrangements. We tracked most of "Because I Said So" live in the studio so it definitely rocks a little harder than the other 2.
How have you seen yourselves grow as artists?
Eddie: Because of our situation (full-time musicians doing multiple projects i.e., writing commercials, jingles, musicals and performing 4 to 14 times a week) we are just getting better and better. It's real hard to stump us on a project. I feel at times that there is nothing that we can't do.
How has being dads impacted the music?
Chuck: We've been dads since we started BBB. I will say that as our kids have gotten older our subject matter has gotten a lot wider. I still use my kids for inspiration and a 10-year-old and 13-year-old inspire you much differently than a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old.
With touring and hectic schedules, how do you balance dadhood with your work?
Chuck: It's hard but it's what I do. My kids get a kick out of it. I would love to be around more but if I didn't do what I do I'm not so sure I would be as pleasant to spend time with! ;)
Get your mini Dr. Seuss to dig into breakfast with this fun recipe for green eggs and ham! This breakfast dish incorporates spinach to color the eggs and milk and Hidden Valley Original Ranch Light Dressing to keep them fluffy and flavorful. The recipe is a hit with kids and a hearty way to start the morning, plus the colored eggs will get anyone in the mood for the greenest holiday around!
¼ cup Hidden Valley® The Original Ranch® Dressing Light
1 cup fresh spinach; stems removed and finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons fat-free milk
2 English muffins, lightly toasted
2 teaspoons olive oil
4 ounces lean pre-cooked ham or Canadian bacon
4 slices American cheese
6 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, dressing, milk and spinach, and whisk until well blended.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Fry the ham or bacon, for about three minutes on each side or until crisp and set aside. Reduce the heat and cook the eggs in the same skillet until lightly scrambled.
Divide the ham and cheese evenly over 4 English muffin halves and top with the cooked eggs. Serve with hash browns, if desired.
It started out with fun flirtations during your marketing meetings. Now, you find that you're getting into the office earlier each day so you can squeeze in some coffee time with your colleague around the Keurig machine. No doubt about it, you've developed an office crush.
While a crush can be completely harmless, it can be costly in the long run (and negatively impact your career) if not handled properly, warns business etiquette expert Barbara Pachter, author of GREET! EAT! TWEET! Here are seven guidelines from Pachter to help you and your significant other share a copier by day and a bedroom by night without hurting your professional image:
1. Keep the relationship private. Your coworkers do not need to know the details of your relationship. At some point, as your romance becomes serious and marriage is on the horizon, your coworkers should be informed – before they receive the wedding invitation!
2. Your boss shouldn’t be your Valentine. Relationships are tricky enough without having your boss or subordinate as your Valentine. If you are dating your boss, have your reporting relationship changed. Also, before you start dating, find out if your company has any HR policies about romance in the office.
3. Don’t let your guard down.It’s easy to let romance take over on Valentine’s Day. Displaying cards, balloons, flowers, teddy bears, etc. may let colleagues know about your love interest, or make them very curious about who is sending you all these items.
4. Do not discuss your relationship on any social media sites. As tempting as it may be to tweet about your sweetie, you should keep your love life off of social media for now. After all, you never know if one of your colleagues (or your boss) will discover your romance.
5. No physical contact in the office. Sure, it's fun to steal a smooch in the conference room when no one is there, but you should try to remain professional in the office at all times, advises Pachter. No secret kissing, caressing, hand-holding or (gasp) sex in the office--no matter how tempting.
6. Maintain your other relationships. Don’t stop socializing with your colleagues. Stay involved with your network.
7. If the relationship fails, be professional and adult about it.Even if you have been jilted and the relationship ends badly, you cannot vent your negative feelings in public. This is one of the drawbacks of office relationships – they sometimes don’t work out, but you have to continue to see or work with the person. No matter how you feel, you should always be professional.
Barbara Pachter is a speaker, coach and author of numerous business books, including The Power of Positive Confrontation and When the Little Things Count. She specializes in business etiquette and communication for companies worldwide. Her client list features major organizations, including Microsoft, Pfizer, Chrysler, Cisco and Genentech.
Loaded with teriyaki glazed bacon and cheddar cheese, these potato skins are topped with plenty of bright green scallions for a St. Patty’s day twist. Serve with sour cream and extra Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki, for dipping. Makes 8 skins
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes
4 small russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ounces bacon, diced small
3 tablespoons Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce, plus more for dipping
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Rub potatoes with half of the oil, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, until outside is crisp and inside is softened. Remove and leave oven on. Let potatoes stand until cool enough to handle. Slice in half lengthwise, and scoop out the potato, leaving a ½-inch shell. Reserve scooped out potato for another use.
3. While the potatoes are baking, place diced bacon in a cold pan. Turn heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat has rendered out and bacon is crisp. Pour fat from the pan, and add the teriyaki sauce. Cook another 3-4 minutes, tossing well, until bacon is well coated and has a glazed appearance.
4. When potatoes are ready to fill, rub top edges and inside surfaces with remaining oil. Divide cheese and cooked bacon evenly among the skins, and bake for another 20 minutes, until cheese has melted and edges are starting to turn golden. Remove, garnish with scallions, and serve on a platter with sour cream and extra Soy Vay sauce for garnish.
I had a dream a few weeks back about a terrible car crash. The dream was so vivid that when I woke up I was gasping.
For days after the dream, I was so paranoid when I was driving. I felt for sure that the dream was a warning. And for some reason, I felt that it was my Dad sending me a sign. Eventually, I forgot about it and life went on.
One Friday, I was driving down to Queens and I was on the expressway. I don’t know about you, but when I drive, I usually have a favorite lane. I typically drive in the middle lane, but for some reason, that day I was in the left lane. As I was cruising down I-684, I saw a car in the right lane go up an embankment, go airborne, and then crash land—in pieces—right smack in the middle lane next to me.
Had I been in the middle lane, (like I normally would have been) he would have demolished my car, too.
Without thinking, I pulled over into the emergency lane on the left, got out of my car, and ran across the expressway to the car. The car was smoking, and since all the airbags had deployed, I couldn’t see the driver—or what shape he was in.
As I got close to the car, the driver’s door opened up, and a man shakily got out of the car. When he looked up at me, I was stunned.
He looked a lot like my Dad.
He was stunned, and started to walk into the traffic, so I grabbed his arm and guided him to the other side of the expressway. A couple of other people who had witnessed the accident had stopped too, and together, we stayed with the man until the state troopers came.
Thank God, the man was okay. He only had minor injuries, but his car was decimated. He was more concerned that his wife was going to find out—and let him have it—than he was about the car. One of the state troopers stopped traffic to get me back to my car on the other side of the expressway, and I continued on.
The whole way I was driving, I was talking to my Dad. I thanked him for that dream about the car accident, which was his way of giving me a warning about the impending accident, and for somehow guiding me to be in the left lane—and out of harm’s way.
For you see, dreams are not just dreams. Dreams are so much more than that. They are a glimpse into the future. They are a way to reconcile with the past. They are warnings and premonitions. They are hope and promise. They are a way for those who are no longer here to let you know that, yes, they are still here. At the core of it all, dreams are messages to you to let you know what’s going well in your life, what’s going wrong—and how to fix it.
My Dad couldn’t stop that man from having a car accident that day. But he definitely let me know that it was coming, and to be there to help. The fact that he looked like my Dad was no coincidence. You see, I don’t believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason, and it all happens to make you a better person.
So listen to your dreams. Discover what they are trying to tell you. After all, these dreams are not just for anyone. These dreams are just for you.
Trista Sutter is truly living her Happily Ever After. America’s favorite Bachelorette has discovered the key to happiness is by having a grateful heart and is sharing her story—and others—in her new book. We spoke exclusively with Trista about adopting an attitude of gratitude, her ten-year marriage to Ryan Sutter, and how she can listen to current Bachelor Juan Pablo talk all day long.
Gratitude has been such a powerful force in my life. It keeps me grounded in the high times and picks me up in the low times. There are lots of stories from other people, friends and family and lots of research, if you embrace it, you’ll live a happier life. I wanted to write something meaningful. Even though people might think I have a fairy tale life, it hasn’t always been a fairy tale. When you go through human times and hardships, you have to actively choose positivity in order to live happier.
I find people are grateful for only the good things, but you have to be grateful for the bad things, too.
It is what you do with yourself afterwards that counts. You should be sad and let yourself feel the human emotions. Experience life and feel what you need to feel but then pick yourself up by being grateful for having lived through those experiences and what they taught you. There’s a story from JR Martinez in the book; he shared with me his story of how he was literally burning to death for five minutes. The pain of that and the pain of rehab and lots of surgeries would have made someone else miserable, but he said that it was the best thing that ever happened to him. I call them unexpected blessings. You think it’s the most horrible thing that ever happened to you, but it can be the best thing.
How do you incorporate gratitude into your life on an everyday basis?
Well, I think that you have to do it on an everyday basis or otherwise it won’t work. I write down my favorite parts of the day on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a way for me to focus on the positive, even if it was a crummy day.
I think it’s a mindset. You have to find something good, and then once you do, you find more.
Absolutely. The more that you focus on the positive, the more positive you’ll have in your life.
I am a huge gift enthusiast, and it helps promote the grateful lifestyle. We have pillows that have inspirational sayings, picture frames and wall art, magnets, bookmarks and tote bags. They are all physical reminders to be grateful all the time.
Yes, because sometimes you do need an actual reminder.
Oh gosh, yes! My mother-in-law came over to help when I was writing the book. She came for 15 days and helped me tremendously. One day, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed; I had had a really bad dream about Ryan. [laughs] There was a cup stuck in the sink and I got so frustrated, and I had to stop myself. I had to tell myself that I was so lucky to have a mother-in-law who was there to help me. Even though I wrote a book about gratitude, I’m not an expert. I have bad days when I get stressed and then I remind myself that gratitude will make me feel better.
Okay, I have to ask how America’s favorite firefighter is and how the kids are?
Aww, Ryan and the kids are great. The kids are 4 and 6, and they are fun. My daughter, Blakesley, is super girly, and my son, Max, is really into video games. His favorite is Mario. They are both very sweet kids, and Ryan is just amazing, too.
Now the new season of The Bachelor is on with Juan Pablo. Any thoughts?
I love this season. I think he’s got a great group of women, beautiful and articulate and intelligent. I’m really excited; he’s a lot of fun so it will be exciting to see what happens. And oh my God, I love his accent. I could listen to it all day.
[laughs] Don’t worry, I won’t tell Ryan.
[laughs] Oh you can tell Ryan. He’s always going to be this Bachelorette’s favorite.
The debate over whether being a mom is the toughest job around may finally be put to rest. A new study conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Wahl Clipper Corporation, the inventor of the electric massager, reveals moms bear more pain than the general population—at least when it comes to the areas of back, neck and shoulders. The study, which looks at everyday aches and pain in America, supports new massage therapy tools from Wahl to help moms get the relief they need.
“As a mom, it’s easy to just accept that pain is part of the job,” said Jenny McLaughlin, product manager for Wahl’s massager division. “As a leader in pain management, we’re committed to developing new and better tools that can help those in pain, including moms, manage it more effectively, from the comfort of their own homes.”
A representative sample of more than 2,000 men and women nationwide – 300 of who were moms with children under 18—were asked to share their pain, as in where it hurts, how often and how they deal with it. In total, 84 percent of moms surveyed reported experiencing muscle or joint pain within the past 12 months. Seven out of 10 had pain in three or more places. As to where moms hurt the most:
· 80 percent experience lower back pain
· 76 percent experience shoulder/neck pain
· 70 percent experience upper back pain
· 65 percent experience joint pain
The majority of moms not only experience pain, but they’re 10 percent more likely than others to have it in their upper back and about 3 percent more likely to have it in their lower back, neck and shoulders. Furthermore, moms are nearly 25 percent more likely to experience this pain at least once a week, which may account for why moms are also more willing to do something to treat their pain. Top choices for pain treatment among moms include pain medication at 70 percent, hot/cold treatments at 43 percent and massage therapy at 27 percent.
Wahl is adding to its growing line of pain management tools to help those in pain get the relief they need. The new Hot/Cold Massage Gel Pack and Hot/Cold Therapeutic Massager combine two common pain treatment methods for a more comprehensive approach to managing everyday aches and pains. The latest additions complement Wahl’s growing line of therapeutic massagers while the combination of temperature therapy and massage is creating a new category of pain management.
For more information about Wahl’s full line of massagers, as well as tips and guidance on selecting the right massager for specific pain areas and conditions, visit Wahl’s new online consumer resource www.wahlmassagers.com.
Ovia Pregnancy app, the first pregnancy tracker that acts as a woman’s 24/7 pregnancy companion from conception to birth, gives her the personalized information and feedback she needs throughout her nine-month journey.
Ovia’s high-tech, personalized approach to tracking pregnancy and the baby’s development goes beyond traditional pregnancy apps to completely transform the way a woman experiences the most important journey of her life. The app is a complete data-driven resource that is not currently available to women in between doctor’s visits.
• Was developed by Harvard scientists, pregnancy specialists, and fit moms
• Gives meaning to the information women are tracking by charting, analyzing, and providing feedback on progress over time
• Helps women better understand their pregnancy, giving critical alerts and directing women to their healthcare providers if they report data that might indicate a serious health issue
• Allows women to track 10 key health metrics such as weight, sleep, symptoms, kick counts, and contractions
• Provides a new level of education and empowerment with personalized, real-time feedback based on where a woman is in her pregnancy, with feedback on BMI, age, and personal health and fitness goals
• Pulls in data from multiple sources, including fitness gadgets like FitBit and Withings, and gathers larger insights based on millions of data points from women going through the same stages of pregnancy
• Offers 400+ articles and resources on pregnancy that are dynamically delivered based on each woman’s unique experience and pregnancy progress
• Creates a “virtual pregnancy journal” that summarizes and visualizes each woman’s data in an interactive, sharable timeline
All I wanted was a Burger King double cheeseburger.
I had been feeling pretty icky all morning, and I started craving a cheeseburger. Which is weird, because I’m not really a red meat kind of person.
We decided to take a drive to BK to get some fresh air (and my double cheeseburger!) Since it was about to snow for the 900th time this winter, we figured this would be a quick way to get the kids out of the house for a little bit. We threw coats on over our PJs and headed out.
As soon as I saw the police car, I knew we were going to get pulled over. Call it women’s intuition—or the fact that as an English Honors grad I can smell foreshadowing at 1000 yards—but I could see it all happening before the cop flashed his lights at us.
In a bit of cosmic literary irony, we got pulled over in the Burger King parking lot.
On a stupid (and incorrect) technicality, we found ourselves in a matter of minutes clutching our belongings in the parking lot while our car was being loaded onto a towing truck.
One kid took it very calmly, but the other one went into total panic mode. He was like Albert trying to put mustard on his toast.
I explained to the kids, without going into tremendous detail at the moment, what was happening, and that everything would be okay.
But I’m not going to lie. I then turned around and blasted the cop for being such a #$%#$%#$%#$ and then, with as much dignity as I could muster, took myself and the kids in our PJs into Burger King.
And then do you know what happened, Dear Readers? We had a yummy, yummy lunch. Right there, in BK. In our PJs. We were laughing. We couldn’t believe the silliness of it all. The kids were relaxed, calm, and happily ate. We were fine. We were TOGETHER.
That double cheeseburger tasted damn awesome, too. Sooooo worth it.
We later smooshed ourselves into a cab and headed home. I immediately checked all of our info and, of course, the cop was wrong. Michell and I gathered the kids and showed them how the officer had made a mistake but that it was all going to be rectified--to our advantage. At that point, it no longer mattered, though. We had assured them that everything was going to be fine, and they had believed us.
Snuggling on the couch that night, Michell and I realized how many life lessons were packed into our afternoon. Our kids learned that things can (and will) go wrong when you least expect it. They learned to trust us implicitly as their parents. And the most important thing to realize is that you need not panic when everything looks bleak. Because it never really is.
Every bad episode in your life is just a moment in the rain, folks.
At least, that's what I believe. After all, when I get knocked down, I get back up again. Because you’re never, ever going to keep me down.
The other night, I was in the supermarket with my daughter, Elizabeth. This is nothing new, as I am ALWAYS in Stop & Shop. I find supermarkets comforting, probably because I worked in one as my first job for years and years. To this date, working in Met Food still ranks as the second favorite job of my career.
But I digress.
When we were in the supermarket checking out the challah, an 80s song came on. If ya’ll don’t know by now how much I LOVE 80s music, well, where have you been? This was the song that came on.
So naturally, I started dancing. And naturally, the ten-year-old daughter was mock-mortified and bolted out of the bread aisle.
So I chased her with the shopping cart, singing and half-dancing as I pushed it. We were both laughing as she admonished me for my “horrible 80s moves.” The thing is, I always dance. I don’t even care if I’m not good at it. I probably am still rocking my Belinda Carlisle moves, but whatevs. It makes me happy.
See, my Mom used to dance with me in stores. ALL THE TIME. We would be in Alexander’s and a 50’s song would come on and she would grab me and we would start dancing. She would twirl me in front of cash registers, on line, even in the dressing room. She taught me how to do the Lindy Hop in the aisles of Met Food (which is where I later worked). As much as I remember being embarrassed (as my Elizabeth is of me), I remember LOVING IT. I remember laughing. I remember hanging onto her as she spun me around.
I remember being HAPPY.
On sooooo many occasions, people would remark how lovely it was that we had such a great relationship. And they were right.
It was natural.
It was perfect.
It was US.
And now, without me even realizing it, without even willing it, I have morphed into my gorgeous, fabulous, beloved Mom. I am not flipping Elizabeth or my son Gabriel around to Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood,” but if Cyndi Lauper comes on, you can damn be sure that we are rocking out to it—no matter where we are.
Dear Readers, I encourage you all to do the same. You don’t have to dance in supermarkets like we do, but take the time to dance with your kids. Let them laugh at your bad moves (yes, your moves are bad, don’t think that they’re still good), and HAVE FUN WITH YOUR KIDS. You are creating memories that will last both of you a lifetime.
Because at the end of the day, we are all the Dancing Queen.