Category Archives: Mary Heston

Mary is an enthusiastic proponent of using technology to bring families closer together. 

Blogging for over 15 years, Mary founded, was a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and has spoken to several groups on internet safety, social media and connecting families through technology. Mary has volunteered with Wired Safety, the world’s first Internet Safety and Help group for over 10 years.
Mary is on the Parent Advisory Board of Famigo and is on the blogger panel for Lifetime Television’s Balancing Act. You can also find Mary as a guest panelist on many #TMOM twitter parties.

Super Bowl Essentials: Goat Cheese

This week a group of women who wine gathered to talk about the upcoming  fundraiser for Pet Rescue and test out an amazing variety of goat cheeses from Mont Chevre.

I wasn’t sure about the best wine to serve with goat cheese and so I went to a group of incredibly talented and knowledgeable wine writers for their suggestions.

But what does goat cheese have to do with the Super Bowl?

It was clear after our evening of testing out the variety of goat cheeses that no party would be complete, not even a Super Bowl party, without Mont Chevre Brie. It was the creamiest and tastiest brie that we had sampled in a long time. And this group consists of several cheese aficionados.

The second essential item was the Mont Chevre cheese crumbles. This was not only tasty all by itself or on a cracker, but a perfect add-on to a green salad or even a 5 bean salad. Take a simple green salad, add some cheese crumble and you are a party hostess superstar.

There are several other cheeses that make perfect party cheeses too. My personal favorite was the pepper and herb coated goat cheese.

One of the great things about the Mont Chevre products is that they are Party Ready! It seems like when party time rolls around the hostess is always dashing here and there taking care of last minute things. With the Mont Chevre cheese you just peel off the back, push the cheese out onto a plate, toss some bagel chips around it and WahLa! The plate is not only delicious but it looks nice and slightly elegant too.

With the brie, we just took off the outside wrap, placed it on a plate and heated it up in the microwave for a few seconds to make it even creamier. Place a cheese knife next to it and you’re set.

For this year’s Super Bowl we are setting the table with a green table cloth and adding white duct tape skinny lines across the table to represent the football field with the Ravens on one end and 49ers on the other. We are putting any food that represents Baltimore or the eastcoast on the Ravens side and the desserts on the 49er side since San Francisco is home to Ghiradelli.

This works out perfect since Mont Chevre is from Wisconsin and can go right in the middle of the table. And since the Super Bowl is being held in New Orleans you could set up the table East West North South with great food from around the country.

While the wine experts recommended pairing goat cheese with either Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne we had to make sure this would be a good match for the Super Bowl and so we did do a taste test with Bud Light and also gave this pairing a thumbs up.

This February 3rd mix it up a little and think about adding some Mont Chevre goat cheese to your Super Bowl line-up.

*The cheese for our evening of tasting was supplied by the wonderful people at Mont Chevre as part of a feature on Lifetime Television’s Balancing Act. The beer, wine, champagne, and crackers were supplied by the women who wine. Our opinions and taste buds are our own and we do take our brie very seriously.

A new trend for kids to express themselves?

This is a pretty popular new format for kids to express themselves. Holding up cards instead of talking.

It makes me wonder where their parents are. In my opinion YouTube is even more of a caution than facebook is and parents should be watching what their kids post. The feedback on Youtube is more anonymous and more vicious than on FB. Of course, many parents have no idea that their kids are posting these videos.

The big thing here is that we are not really giving our kids reasonable solutions. For some reason we have forgotten about natural consequences. When a kid gets bullied at school it tears on their self esteem. We tell them to ignore the bully OR that the bully is probably just getting bullied at home so our kid should just ignore the bully. But that doesn’t really help our kids because no matter if you believe what the bully is saying or not, the bullying still rips a little bit away from your soul and it needs to be filled with more than just platitudes from parents.

A kid won’t feel better about themselves just by getting good grades in school (they will probably just get teased even more for those grades). Our kids – just like adults – find a sense of self worth from the achievement of some goal. We need to be giving our kids meaningful challenges for themselves. My daughter set a goal of reading 50 books last year. Which she did. This last January 1 she declared 2010 the year of the side pony tail. Ok not a goal that will get us any closer to world peace but it is December 6th and she has worn her hair in a side pony tail every day this last year. My son decided he was going to be a vegetarian when he was 11. He’s 13 now and has stayed true to his vegetarian lifestyle. It is important for us, as parents, every day to help remind our kids that it is not words but deeds that build character and that our kids are uniquely awesome.

This year my kids have returned to our small town school system. Alex (8th grade) was bullied relentlessly at the beginning of the year. We are still dealing with that but it has been a little bit miserable. The Principal of the school laughed at him when he tried to ask a question about the school handbook ” Alex you take things too literally “. I have been asked to stay away from the school and that if I am interested in helping with any bullying issues I should perhaps go talk to the people at the High School. Alex is getting good grades and the bullies aren’t ganging up on him so much since he slugged one of them and took a day of in school suspension. So, needless to say the videos like the one above of this 8th grade kid in your email is near and dear to my heart. I do check out my kids bodies – cutting is a ridiculous new fad – and I do go through what they are posting on YouTube with them.

Last month Alex was asked to write an essay for school using the keyword “Change” – it’s not pulitzer work but it is very interesting to me because it seems like it is something that is going on for alot of kids and it tells me that the schools can do alot. The school Alex went to in 5th grade had a student handbook that they used and followed. Teachers expected respect from the students but they also gave the students respect. If there were any issues to deal with they would follow the guidelines in the student handbook and it was very calm. Alex did say that one day a kid was escorted out of school with his hands zip tied behind his back but other than that it was a very safe and encouraging learning environment.

YouTube makes for a whole new set of rules for kids these days. And its not easy because the parents don’t even know the rules.

Here is Alex’s essay:

Change is money. It can be given to people, or, it can be taken from people. Some need it more than others. Many things have changed for me from my past until now.

I experienced change when I lived in Baltimore. I was in fifth grade at the time. I loved going to school there. My teachers and classmates were nice, the school system was great, and I learned a lot from my classes. I also learned about the people. I was the only white kid in my class. I think living there gave me an open mind about people, no matter what colour their skin is.

Another change in my life was the time I started in sixth grade at Middle School. I was bullied at the time. Other students would make fun of my name or call me gay. The teachers weren’t much help when I told them about the bullies. It got so bad that I would only come to school for the first few periods, then I would homeschool for the rest of the day. My time spent in sixth grade changed me. I don’t trust everybody to be nice. I’m more cautious.

Finally, I changed when I went to the Middle East. I was there for part of sixth and seventh grade. The school there was strict and the school work was hard. For a long time I struggled. I didn’t understand a lot of what we were doing. The experience changed me. I now know that I have to work harder.

Change is money. Or it could be a new way at looking at people. Maybe it’s how to handle a bully. It could be how you look at yourself.

Visit me online!

Mary W. Heston

Keep your laptops off your lap.

Last week an article was published on Reuters titled, “Laptop Wi-Fi said to nuke sperm, but caveats abound”. The caveats in this article are provided by a Dr. Oates, the president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, who told Reuters Health he doesn’t believe laptops are a significant threat to male reproductive health. It is understandable that he doesn’t want parents to be concerned without real evidence and I can fully appreciate this.

At the same time they quoted him as saying that he was able to father two children even though he owns a laptop and an iPad. The point here is that laptops and iPads have not really become popular for in home use until just recently. Parents today did not grow up having access to these tools until they were heading off to college.

The problem is not even so much the laptop or the Wi-Fi as much as it appears to be the heat that is given off by these devices. This heat, being directed right on our young boys mid section, may affect their sperm. The research is not fully conclusive yet and more research needs to be done. The research done in Argentina seems to be a good starting point.

We could, with some certainty, say that if our children would abstain from using laptops until they were in college, like most of us did, then there would probably be no concern about their reproductive abilities. But since our kids are using iPads and laptops as early as 3 years old now, there is reason enough to at least think about what that direct heat may be doing to our little boys.

If your little guy is going to use a laptop or iPad or other heat producing tech gadget it may be good to consider the following precautions:

  1. Get them in the habit of sitting at a desk when using a laptop (even tho the name of the devise is laptop)
  2. Have them develop the habit of not placing these gadgets right on their laps
  3. Monitor their time spent on their laptop
  4. If they do want to sit with their laptop on their lap consider getting them a laptop chiller or some other device to keep the heat off of their body.
  5. Ensure that they are eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and getting in regular exercise every day.

Eating a healthy diet is the one thing that we do know for sure will positively benefit both our sons and daughters. But until the evidence is clear, I will be making sure that my sons keep their laptops off their laps.


Mary W. Heston

“When Life gives you Lemons… Make Lemonade” by Mary Heston

There is an old adage that goes “When Life gives you Lemons… Make Lemonade”. If you have kids you know that you are going to be drinking a lot of lemonade because life comes at you from unexpected directions all the time. It might involve having to run all around town late one evening to look for a blue T-shirt that your kid needs for the assembly at school the next day. Or it might be baking those 36 cupcakes at 11pm at night because your kindergartner is supposed to bring the snack the next day and they LOVE your cupcakes and only your cupcakes (store bought cupcakes just won’t do).

There are also the unplanned events in your life that require you to think a little bit out of the box and re-frame your point of view. For me that came in the form of ripped curtains. We have a new puppy in our house. By puppy I mean a two year old big dog that is still in puppy mode. So, technically she is more of a toddler. She is in her Terrible Two’s. And her name is Zilla (short for Godzilla).

This summer we put a new area rug in the living room and we have been training her to stay off the rug. The kids put a dog bed by the window so that the Puppy could still be in the room with us but would know where she was supposed to be. This was working out great. Unfortunately, she still gets very excited (as puppies do) every time a car drives by and jumps up to peak out the window. This has resulted in a couple of pretty good gashes in the curtains.

Point of Reference for this story: Not only do we have a puppy but we also live in a gigantic “fixer-upper” and we are 10 years into a 20 year project.  New curtains were not on the To-Do list for this year.

By mid September the curtains were pretty ghastly. But what do you do? We re-framed the point of view and have declared them “Halloween Decorations”. Of course this does put us in the position of having to deal with the curtains around November 2nd. But at least it has put that expense off for one more month giving me time to shuffle the To-Do list a bit.

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I get back to my lemonade.


Everything in this post is true – it was not something I had initially intended to share with the world.  I have not received any promotional material or sponsorship for the posting of this mom moment. Let’s face it – those curtains are really terrible and even calling them Halloween Decorations is a bit painful.  The post was inspired by my friends at Lifetime Television’s Balancing Act who shared a link with me this morning to an upcoming segment they are planning featuring the Official Curtain of the National Sleep Foundation, SoundAsleep™ Room Darkening Curtains that will be appearing on The Balancing Act on Oct 24th & Nov 21st. You know for sure that I will be tuning in to watch the Balancing Act on the 24th.  In the meantime, you can check out the SoundAsleep sweepstakes facebook page right now.