A Madison Mom http://www.amadisonmom.net A guide for parents living in and around Madison, NJ. Mon, 26 Sep 2016 11:32:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Organizing Yourself For Fall – 5 Tips to Get a Handle on “Stuff” http://www.amadisonmom.net/organizing-yourself-for-fall/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/organizing-yourself-for-fall/#comments Mon, 26 Sep 2016 11:32:27 +0000 http://madison.momagama.com/?p=9602 We’re about a week into fall. Now that kids are well settled at school and you have some time for yourself, do you want to get organized for the season? We know life gets busy. We’re always working to balance family, kids, work as well as our own personal life. So, how do you handleRead More

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We’re about a week into fall. Now that kids are well settled at school and you have some time for yourself, do you want to get organized for the season? We know life gets busy. We’re always working to balance family, kids, work as well as our own personal life. So, how do you handle your messes?

clutter

Here are some tips to help you rein it in when your ’stuff’ gets out of hand:

1. Pick a place to start, preferably the most challenging area first, while you have to most energy and enthusiasm. Once you complete the area you want to avoid the most, everything else feels so much easier.

2. Handle one item at a time until the area is at its best.

3. Open your mail every day. Have a designated spot for your important mail once you have opened all your mail.

4. If you have a stray piece of paper that needs filing, create a new folder for it. Have a box of file folders at the ready.

5. Clear your desk top of all personal mementos. Hang them on the walls, place them on shelves, but give yourself space to work at your desk, without distractions.

 

Jane of All Trades helps people to be more efficient in their home or office so they can focus their time and efforts on the things that are important to them. www.janeofalltradesnj.com

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12 Things I Love as an Allergy Mom http://www.amadisonmom.net/12-things-love-allergy-mom/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/12-things-love-allergy-mom/#respond Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:15:34 +0000 http://www.amadisonmom.net/?p=16294 I’m an allergy mom. My 10-year-old son is anaphylactic to peanuts and milk. This means that exposure to these foods can lead to a severe, potentially life-threatening reaction, including blocked airways and sudden blood pressure drop. Something changes in you when you watch your one-year-old enjoy an ice cream one minute, then gasp for airRead More

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I’m an allergy mom. My 10-year-old son is anaphylactic to peanuts and milk. This means that exposure to these foods can lead to a severe, potentially life-threatening reaction, including blocked airways and sudden blood pressure drop. Something changes in you when you watch your one-year-old enjoy an ice cream one minute, then gasp for air the next. Food becomes a potential enemy. It is not fun, but we have been dealing with it for almost ten years now, and are trying to help him become proactive about his allergies. He sits at the peanut-free table at school, asks the Chipotle workers to change their gloves before they make his order because he has allergies (which they always willingly do, plus they get him fresh guacamole to be sure no cheese has jumped into it), and he, so far, hasn’t complained about taking the bag with his Epipen and his own snacks when he goes to a friend’s house.

Though many things about his allergy make me anxious (especially as the teen years and more independence approach), there are several things that have helped me get through these years:

    1. When my son goes to a birthday party of a friend who has the same allergies as he does! One of his good friends has the same (and even more!) allergies than he has. No need to pack his own cheeseless pizza or milk-free cupcake for his parties. “Mom! I could eat everything there and it was all SOOO good!” Joy!
    2. That my son has friends with allergies, too. I wouldn’t wish food allergies on anyone, but I am so thankful that he has a core group of friends who all have allergies. I had always heard about how alienating the peanut-free table is in the cafeteria. I am sure it is for most kids with allergies, but we are very fortunate that at least 4 other boys in his grade need to sit at the peanut-free table, and they are among his closest friends!img_4317
    3. When a classmate’s parent asks what she can pack (and what to avoid) in her son’s lunchbox so he can sit with my son at the peanut-free table. Love! Love! Love!
    4. No food at school for birthdays. I know that kids enjoyed eating cupcakes at school birthday celebrations, but life is so much less stressful now that food is outlawed. Since milk is in virtually every dessert, I would always bring in his own cupcake. I vividly remember my son’s expression when I picked him up from kindergarten on a day there was a classmate’s unannounced birthday celebration. He sat there with nothing while the rest of the class enjoyed the treat.
    5. Houses that offer peanut- and milk-free Halloween candy. Many homes offer candy my son can eat, but, usually, at least a third do not. I am always proud when he doesn’t make a fuss, thanks the person for the candy anyway, and then drops it in my daughter’s bag as they walk to the next house. (My daughter often gives him most of her sugary candies in return when they get back to the house.)This year I plan to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, a growing movement to make trick-or-treating safer for kids with allergies. We’ll paint a pumpkin teal and put it on our doorstep to show that we provide non-food treats like bouncy balls, stickers, and pencils (in addition to candy) at our house.img_4337
    6. Food brands that are peanut- and dairy-free. I love the brand Enjoy Life! The company prides itself on making products that are free from the top eight allergens: wheat/gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish. I’m amazed at the variety of delicious products they can make without these ingredients: cookies, chewy bars, chocolate chips, chocolate bars, baking mixes, etc. Incredible! enjoy-life
    7. When I find a new snack my son can eat. My fellow allergy moms and I often send each other photos of products and ingredient labels when we find new foods our kids can eat, and tell them where we found it. Rice Whip and Soy Whip (alternatives to Redi-Whip) at the local ShopRite? I’m there!
    8. Kosher symbols. In Judaism, dietary laws prohibit meat and dairy to be eaten in the same meal. So, all foods are classified as meat, dairy, or pareve or parve (foods that contain no meat or dairy). Many foods are labeled with the circled U or K to show they are Kosher. If there is a D next to it, the food is “dairy.” If there is “Pareve,” “Parve,” or just the circled U or K, it does not contain dairy. At the Hanukkah event in our town each year, they serve dairy-free donuts. Not just little powdered ones – huge, delicious “cream” filled ones. They get them from Zadies Bake Shop, a nut-free Kosher bakery in Fair Lawn, NJ, about 40 minutes from Madison. I’ve never been there, but I definitely need to make a trip!kosherparevecollagekosherdairycollage
    9. When food vendors at baseball games and skating rinks save all the ingredient labels of their foods, and don’t roll their eyes when I ask about cooking methods. It always amazes me when I ask a food vendor for ingredient labels and they look at me like I have three heads. Really? Am I the only one who has ever asked to see them?
    10. Watching my son order for himself and explain his allergy to the server—and they listen! I know in the near future, he will be going out with friends on his own. I’ve been coaching him on how to order and check food labels, and to avoid ordering food altogether if he doesn’t feel comfortable.
    11. Grandparents who “get” his allergy. My parents and in-laws are awesome (in so many ways!). They always stock up on my son’s Almond Milk before we arrive, check out the local vegan take-out shop near them, and make meals that we can all eat! These types of allergies were not things their generation had to deal with, so to have them understand the severity of it all is invaluable! I actually sat next to the grandmother of one of my son’s friends at a birthday party. She commented something to the effect of “I don’t get this whole peanut allergy thing. They should just give him a little peanut butter. It won’t harm him, and it might even help him get over it!” Uh-oh!!!
    12. That my son doesn’t mind bloodwork because it means that there is a chance his allergies might be getting better. Though I love that he doesn’t fuss at bloodwork, it also makes me sad to see how much his allergies affect him. My hope is that, one day, research will find cures to food allergies, food will no longer be a potential enemy, and that we can enjoy all sweetness that life–and Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups–have to offer, together!

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5 Favorite Things In and Around Madison, NJ – 9/23 – 9/29 http://www.amadisonmom.net/5-favorite-things-923-929/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/5-favorite-things-923-929/#respond Thu, 22 Sep 2016 18:00:21 +0000 http://www.amadisonmom.net/?p=16215 The kids are back in school. The leaves are starting to turn. There’s a change in the air. And there are some fun things going on all around us this week. Morristown Festival on the Green I absolutely love this festival!! There is so much to do, and eat!! Most local restaurants have food stands. LocalRead More

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  • The kids are back in school. The leaves are starting to turn. There’s a change in the air. And there are some fun things going on all around us this week.
  • 5-favorite-things

    Morristown Festival on the Green

    I absolutely love this festival!! There is so much to do, and eat!! Most local restaurants have food stands. Local artists have lots to see and local organizations and non-profits have lots to teach. Plus, a ton of live music. 150 participants in total. Make sure to bring cash with you. Hopefully, the Montclair Art Truck is back again this year. Everyone is welcome to help create a community art project. It’s so cool.

    Sunday, September 25, 12 noon – 5 pm (this event is rain or shine)

    Morristown Green, Park Place, Morristown

    Website

    Liberty Science Center Member Night

    Thursday, September 23

    LSC stays open late just for its members. This week they are bringing back the beloved Curious George exhibit and those members get to celebrate its return. How fun?! George himself will be there and you or your little ones can have your photo taken with him. There will also be films, laser shows, and other fun activities, including Wildlife Challenge—open just for members for one last night (weather permitting). Plus free parking, 10% discounts in the cafe and store, and all the fun of LSC’s general-admission exhibits.
    Liberty State Park, 222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City
    (201)253-1439

     

    Website

    Visit and Tour the Ralston Cider Mill

    Sure, we’ve all passed it a hundred times but have you ever been inside? Or learned any of the history? This and next Sunday you can visit and take a tour.

    $5 for Adult, Children 7 and under are free

    336 Mendham Road West, Mendham

    Website

     

    Short Stories Young Adult Book Club

    Sunday, September 25, 7 pm

    The group will discuss Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

    Website

     

    Weekend Crafting @ Imagine That

    September 24 & 25, 10 am – 5:30 pm

    September Weekend Crafting is here. It’s time for fall. Make an autumn wreath to kick off the season.

    Free with general admission.

    4 Vreeland Road, Florham Park.

    Website

     

     

     

     

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    How About a Salad? http://www.amadisonmom.net/how-about-a-salad/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/how-about-a-salad/#respond Thu, 22 Sep 2016 12:00:32 +0000 http://www.amadisonmom.net/?p=16286 I’m not a stranger to the life hack. You can see my video about butternut squash here: And I have certainly tried many many, many tricks to get myself to eat healthier. Right now, I’m trying to eat a salad or at least lots of greens at every meal. Over the years, I had toRead More

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    I’m not a stranger to the life hack. You can see my video about butternut squash here:

    And I have certainly tried many many, many tricks to get myself to eat healthier. Right now, I’m trying to eat a salad or at least lots of greens at every meal.

    Over the years, I had to admit that all of the diet plans I tried had one thing in common: salad. A recent try involved a lovely nutritionist from suburban New York who telephoned me once a month to tell me how everything sacred in this world is actually killing you. Wait, I think it was more like: whatever you’re eating. you’re doing it wrong. Like how she asked me to go through what I ate that day. I told her I had avocado toast for lunch, feeling so much like Gwyneth Paltrow as I said it. She said, “That’s great. Next time, how about instead of toast, salad?”

    So, the people who spend their lives figuring out what we should eat are telling us to eat salad. I do pretty well at dinner and I now have eggs with spinach or a green smoothie at breakfast. But lunch is my weak point. I guess I thrive on accountability, and somehow being at home alone and going to the fridge for lunch too often ends up with me, a box of thin mints (not the right kind of green) and Netflix.

    I need a good hack. My latest solution? A salad shelf or a fridge salad bar: I’m dedicating a shelf of my refrigerator to salad fixings!

    Here’s what I did:

    I measured the shelf in question and then got a variety of storage containers like these Ziploc Variety To Go Container, 7 Count.

    img_1569

    I found that I used two big ones for lettuces, rinsed,  chopped into bite-sized pieces and ready to go. I also got bunch of veggies I like on salads to put in smaller containers: cooked beets, carrots, english cucumber, radishes and bell peppers. I even had a container of olives in the fridge that weren’t really moving, so I removed the pits, chopped them and put them in a small container.  This is a rather long preparation process. I started before I was really hungry, but I wound up eating a leftover cheeseburger for lunch the day I prepped because I was too hungry to wait for my salad to be done.

    Then there is the matter of dressing. I have olive oil and a variety of vinegars on hand usually, so at first, I did a quick on-the-salad O&V combo. But I began to realize that the dressing really does make the salad. I have a few go-to recipes. There’s a Cosi copycat shallot viniagrette you can find here. And here’s a “Recipe” from Gwyneth’s latest book: equal parts white miso paste and raw almond butter (I think it’s a 3 to one miso to almond butter ratio if it’s roasted almond butter), thin it with hot water until it is the consistency you like. That’s it! I also like to use things like hummus or salsa as salad dressing. And a great trick that really gets me excited about lunch is to get some prepared tuna or salmon salad or even make a batch of your own. If you just plop that on top, it feels more special.

    So how did I do?

    Well, you already know day 1 I opted for a cheeseburger instead of a salad.

    Day 2: I dove in head first. Even though I was ravenous when I opened the fridge, I just grabbed the stack of salad fixings and made a good, and good for me, lunch.

    Day 3: Super busy, I didn’t eat lunch at all, unless you count the green smoothie I had at Jungle Juice with the kids after school. And really that’s more like lunch and a little dessert.

    Day 4: Back to the salad. The thing is, I was running out of some of the lettuce already. I may need more large containers for lettuce. It should last all week, right?

    Day 4: Settling into a routine. By now, I had my dressing set up. This was a day that I had some of my favorite salmon salad from Whole Foods, so I really looked forward to lunch.

    Day 5: Running on fumes for lettuce at this point. Which is great, because I’m eating so many greens. But I had to use some Kale, which I usually only eat cooked because I really hate raw kale.

    Takeaways: I will make a few tweaks for continued success. I’ll prep more lettuce, maybe three heads of romaine as well as a container of baby spinach or green leaf lettuce. I’ll also put other items for the salad in the fridge too, like nuts and seeds and maybe a little dried fruit. These are good for the smallest containers, because they should be used in moderation. I will also add more protein sources, like black beans and hard boiled eggs.

    In the end I did eat more salad. The salad shelf helped with my dinner salads as well, so even the days I didn’t have salad for lunch, I had it with dinner. (And I basically became Gwyneth Paltrow on the other days). Now I just have to cut out the Thin Mints . . . .

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    Farm to Feast – Roasted Pork Chops with Apples http://www.amadisonmom.net/farm-feast-roasted-pork-chops-apples/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/farm-feast-roasted-pork-chops-apples/#respond Wed, 21 Sep 2016 23:59:00 +0000 http://www.amadisonmom.net/?p=16218 It’s a perfect pairing: pork and apples. Here’s a grown up take on “Pork Chops and Applesauce” that the whole family will love. Ingredients: 4 bone-in pork chops (1″ thick) Garlic powder or Adobo seasoning Olive Oil 2 tsp fresh thyme, plus 4 sprigs 1 tsp fresh rosemary, plus 1 sprig 2 cloves garlic (Again,Read More

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    It’s a perfect pairing: pork and apples. Here’s a grown up take on “Pork Chops and Applesauce” that the whole family will love.

    Ingredients:

    4 bone-in pork chops (1″ thick)

    Garlic powder or Adobo seasoning

    Olive Oil

    2 tsp fresh thyme, plus 4 sprigs

    1 tsp fresh rosemary, plus 1 sprig

    2 cloves garlic (Again, I must sing the praises of the frozen garlic cubes by Dorot!)

    2 apples (any variety), chopped

    1 red onion, sliced thin

    1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar*

    Kosher salt

    Freshly ground pepper

     

    Preparation:

    Preheat oven to 400°.

    In a cast iron skillet or flat bottomed pan (not non-stick), heat two tablespoons olive oil.

    Pat dry the pork chops and sprinkle with seasoning. (If using garlic powder, sprinkle with salt and pepper as well)

    Add the pork chops to the pan and sear on both sides, until nice and browned.

    Remove chops from the pan.

    img_7055Heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic, 2 tsp thyme, 1 tsp rosemary, a pinch or two of kosher salt and pepper, apples and red onion. Sauté until slightly tender, about 3 minutes (not too much because they will cook with the chops in the oven).

     

    fullsizerenderAdd chops back into the pan. Tuck the sprigs of thyme and rosemary under the chops. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the chops and apples and onions.

     

     

     

    Bake for 15-20 minutes until internal temperature of the chops reaches 145°.

    Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

    Plate the chops and then add the apple and onion mixture on top.

    fullsizerender-1Serve with roasted sweet potatoes and sautéed string beans for a totally delicious fall meal.

    *The thicker and sweeter the balsamic the better. My husband got me a bunch of delicious olive oils and vinegars from The Filling Station in Chelsea Market last year. For this dish, I use either the Black Mission Fig balsamic or the Cinnamon Pear balsamic.

     

     

     

     

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    It’s Sock Weather! Let’s Celebrate With Sock Monkey http://www.amadisonmom.net/its-sock-weather-lets-celebrate-with-sock-monkey/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/its-sock-weather-lets-celebrate-with-sock-monkey/#respond Tue, 20 Sep 2016 11:13:41 +0000 http://www.amadisonmom.net/?p=16137 I don’t know about you, but I have had just about enough of summer. I, frankly, don’t want to see my feet again until May. No more pedis! Let us embrace the return of sock weather with a discount at SockMonkey, where we can get 15% off their subscriptions, and let Fall commence. I loveRead More

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    I don’t know about you, but I have had just about enough of summer. I, frankly, don’t want to see my feet again until May. No more pedis! Let us embrace the return of sock weather with a discount at SockMonkey, where we can get 15% off their subscriptions, and let Fall commence.

    I love Fall as much as I despise Summer prerequisites: Sweating, Sunburn, and Scorn. You might love Summer with all of your sweaty hearts, but there’s something about the return of Fall that makes me as happy as the proverbial clam. Snuggly sweaters, long pants (remember long pants? Ah, memories) and SOCKS. Begone, sandals and flip flops! Hie thee away, shorts and capris! I want to hide my pale extremities under some good ol’ fashioned autumnal clothes, and where would we be without our own personal foot-huggers, the humble sock.

    I know, I know. Socks aren’t exciting. But they can be! Even the most boring, standard outfit can be downright whimsical with a fun pair of socks. Just imagine wearing your standard pants and top to work or around the house, and underneath, your feet are having their own little party in a completely silly pair of socks. Stripes, polka dots, funky colors, whatever you want. Let the colors of the rainbow be your guide. And the kids? The kids love silly socks. Take a lesson from them and hie thee to SockMonkey to subscribe to their program that sends you two pairs of socks per month for only $19 a month for adults (available in fun or conservative) $16 per month for tweens, and $15 per month for kidlets. You’ll get a package once a month with your fun new socks, and just look at the selections they have!

     

    Celebrate Autumn finally returning and enjoy the comfort of wearing something on your feet again, for Pete’s sake. Boring white or black socks are always useful, I GUESS, but why not stir the pot a bit? Imagine being in a meeting and having the teeniest bit of purple polka dots peeking out on your ankle. You are now the coolest person in the room, hands down. So here’s the skinny on what SockMonkey is offering:

    We offer high-quality handmade socks sent to your home every month. Our socks have unique designs that are not available in stores. We offer a popular gift program that allows users to send gifts with a hand-written thank-you note. Choose from different types of fun socks for every personality type such as bold and conservative, and designed for men, women, and kids.

    The Sock Panda team is dedicated to using its socks to make the world a better place. We donate socks to those in need for every subscription purchased. As of October 2014 the company has donated nearly 10,000 socks to homeless shelters, low income senior centers, and under-privileged classrooms across the country.

    WOMENS/MEN’S SUBSCRIPTION

    High quality Peruvian cotton socks are bright and colorful.

    • $19 month for 2 pairs per month
    • $12 month for 1 pair per month
    • Choose from bold, cool, or both
    • Pick from month to month, 6 month or 1 year subscription
    • Different design every month

    TWEEN SUBSCRIPTION (Age 9-11)

    Amazingly cute kids socks of Peruvian cotton.

    • $16 month for 2 pairs per month
    • Choose for boy or girl
    • Select age and shoe size if you know it
    • Pick from month to month, 6 month or 1 year subscription
    • Different design every month

    KIDS SUBSCRIPTION (Age 3-8)

    Amazingly cute kids socks of Peruvian cotton. One pair will be educational and the other will be stylish. Every month they will receive socks and learning activities called “Socktivities”.

    • $15 month for 2 pairs per month
    • Choose for boy or girl
    • Select age and shoe size if you know it
    • Pick from month to month, 6 month or 1 year subscription
    • Different design every month

    So click away at the banner below to get your subscription started, and HAPPY AUTUMN TO US ALL!

     

    This post contains affiliate links 

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    Wishing Patrick the Mailman the very happiest of birthdays here in Madison, NJ! http://www.amadisonmom.net/wishing-patrick-mailman-happiest-birthday-madison-nj/ http://www.amadisonmom.net/wishing-patrick-mailman-happiest-birthday-madison-nj/#respond Mon, 19 Sep 2016 21:51:47 +0000 http://www.amadisonmom.net/?p=16163 If you drive around in the neighborhoods up the hill from St.Vincent Martyr School today, you’ll notice signs of a something special.  Patrick the mailman’s mail stops are all celebrating his birthday! Beth Landau has been heading up this celebration for the past three years. Beth Landau had this to say about Patrick, as a smallRead More

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    If you drive around in the neighborhoods up the hill from St.Vincent Martyr School today, you’ll notice signs of a something special.  Patrick the mailman’s mail stops are all celebrating his birthday! Beth Landau has been heading up this celebration for the past three years.

    picmonkey-collage

    Beth Landau had this to say about Patrick, as a small way to explain why they celebrate Patrick’s birthday:

    Patrick knows so much about our lives.  He knows our pets, our kids, which letters we are looking out for.  I know he’s a twin and has a big family and I believe Patrick’s last name is Mitchell, but we all just know him as “Patrick the mailman”.  I wish I knew more about him.  He’s one of the kindest men you’ll ever meet.  When my mom passed away, he didn’t just give me condolence cards, he game me a hug and asked how I was doing.  When Mr. Shoemaker (who was on his route) passed away, Patrick was at the memorial service.

    We’ve been celebrating his birthday for 3 years now.  When my kids (both September birthdays) mentioned their birthdays to Patrick, he told us his was September 13th.  He thought it was just said in passing, but we ordered 50 signs and decorated his route, and this year we have an additional 50 signs, and it’s still not enough.  Every street on his route has agreed to participate.  And as I went around talking about Patrick, I realized that everyone felt the way we do about him.  That he’s someone special who should be celebrated. We are late this year with his birthday celebration because he was on vacation.  

    Cathy Leo is in charge of Vinton Road. Mary Beth Forte is in charge of Academy Road, Sara Burnet is in charge of Woodcliff Drive, Jessica Griffin is in charge of Stafford Drive.   His route also includes Green Village Road, Wilmer Street, parts of Kings Road, Wilson Lane, and Carteret Court. (And Beth takes care of Green Hill Road.)

    happy-birthday-patrick

    Beth contacted both the US Post Master General (Megan J. Brennan) and our Madison Mayor (Robert Conley) to extend an invitation to celebrate Patrick’s birthday.  While Ms. Brennan could not attend she did reply to Beth’s email:

    Thank you for recognizing your Letter Carrier’s birthday.  I’m happy to know that Patrick is appreciated by his customers.  He clearly is representing the Postal Service well.

    Bob Conley was able to stop by the celebration, and took some time to wish Patrick best wishes on his birthday.

    img_7193

    If you happen to see Patrick today… make sure to wish him a Happy Birthday!

    When I heard about Patrick, I loved hearing that he isn’t just a mail carrier.  He’s very obviously a part of the Madison Community.  When Beth’s husband, Andy, called me about sharing this great community story, I couldn’t help but think how fortunate we are here in Madison; how lucky the residents are to have a mailman like Patrick (we have Larry… and he sounds every bit as awesome as Patrick!); but also… how amazing Beth and the other residents are for recognizing and going out of their way to acknowledge the kind of job, the kind of person, Patrick is.

    Do you know someone special that works in Madison and does an amazing job?

    or

    Do you know someone who does something extraordinary to recognize the service provided by someone special in town?

    Let us know… we want to share the community love!

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