Dear Jack: Cupcakes/Music Lessons/Upcoming Pensacola Road Trip

4 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack: Cupcake Party/Upcoming Trip To Pensacola, FL

Your teacher Ms. Aimee lets your class do something special every time you guys earn enough marbles to fill up the jar, on account of good behavior.

A few weeks ago, it was a pajama party. This past week, though, you all had a cupcake party. I was surprised to see the pictures… you actually made your own cupcakes, thanks to Ms. Aimee’s handy dandy cupcake maker.

Dear Jack: Cupcakes/Music Lessons/Upcoming Pensacola Road Trip

I didn’t even though that existed… we might have to get one for our house. Here’s your teacher’s note:

“Hi Nick!

Today was our cupcake party!

Jack had a blast mixing all the ingredients together to make our cupcakes.

The best part was frosting and decorating them!”

Jack had a blast today with our guest, Mr. Adam, from Firey Music!

He showed us how to play the; guitar, banjo, and mandolin! Jack got to try each instrument.

Mr. Adam also gave each student an instrument all of their own (the greatest sight you’ve seen, 14 children’s eyes lighting up, finding out they get their OWN instrument!)

Jack has also fallen in love with our magnet tiles! He is the master of building rockets!”

Aimee Cornelius

Lead Rockstar Preschool Teacher (self-titled)

Rainbow Child Care Center

Spring Hill, Tennessee

Dear Jack: Cupcakes/Music Lessons/Upcoming Pensacola Road Trip

Coming up, we have a fun road trip/mini-vacation planning for Pensacola, Florida. We will be reviewing a 2015 Toyota Sienna, which will only add to the excitement!

On our itinerary is a fun trip to the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, as you are currently obsessed with sea animals since watching and reviewing Dolphin Tale 2 a few months ago. You have already decided your souvenir for our trip will be a dolphin stuffed animal.

Dear Jack: Cupcake Party/Upcoming Trip To Pensacola, FL

And it should go without saying, I will officially be reviewing the city of Pensacola from a “vegan friendly” perspective; as I’ve already done with our trips to Atlanta, Asheville, and Lake Tahoe.

I’m excited to see you play in the ocean. I have a feeling you will be looking for baby crabs there on the beach.

Pensacola is apparently only about 6 and a half hours from our new house, which is a bit closer to the ocean than our home in Nashville was.

This may turn out to be a new regular vacation spot for us, like Asheville has become.

All fun ahead, it sounds like!



Dear Jack: Practicing For Your 4th Birthday

3 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack: Practicing For Your 4th Birthday

Dear Jack,

Today was “Mismatch Day” at school, so you and I decided to take some fall pictures real quick in front of your school, while you wore your Ninja Turtle pajama pants.

Once we got inside, we saw your friend Madison. She had prepared a drawing for you along with a set of fish stickers, which you immediately implemented into artwork once we got home.

She’s the one who you were worried that she will get you a girl’s birthday present next week for your party. Based on the fact her Daddy replied with, “Jack, I hope you like Ninja Turtles,” I’d say you have nothing to worry about.

Dear Jack: Practicing For Your 4th Birthday

We were so pleasantly surprised by Madison’s kindness that I had reached the front door to leave, while holding you, when you looked at me confused, saying, “Daddy?”

Today made the first time I’ve ever forgot to actually leave you at school while dropping you off there. Had it not been for you bringing it to my attention, there’s a good chance I would have starting driving to work before I realized I never actually dropped you off at school, though we had both just walked in.

4th birthday

Times are good. I am loving the anticipation leading up to your 4th birthday party next weekend!

Last night Mommy even brought you home a cupcake to eat after dinner, to help you practice eating fun treats like we’ll have at your party.

I think we’re going to have a lot of fun next weekend; and not just you, but truly our whole family.

Not only am I excited for you, but I’m excited with you. I feel like I’m actually equally as excited as you are!

Your party is going to be a blast… given none of your girl friends give your girly gifts!

After These Messages… We’ll Be Riiiiight Back!

I am a marketing department’s worst nightmare.  Because while I completely appreciate good commercials, they never influence me to buy the product.  Kudos to McDonald’s for their retro “Give Me Back My Filet-O-Fish” commercial, equipped with a Ford Ranchero and a catchy 8-bit sounding song via text message.  And those guys in the Sonic commercials, what’s not to love about “get those taste buds going, danga-langa-langa-langa-langa… Mornin’ Gents!” or “YOU’RE A CHEAP DATE!”

Yet I never buy from or eat at McDonald’s or Sonic.  I respect their commercials, but they’re just entertainment.  That’s all.  Completely ineffective as far as getting me to actually spend money.

Which causes me to think about this question:  When is the last time I bought a product or service based on an advertisement, of any kind?  Through a TV commercial, radio commercial, or magazine ad.  Any sort of marketing ad.

And I’m not counting the times I was already searching for a general product and came across a website.  That doesn’t count. 

I’m talking about this situation:  I never heard of the product.  I see an advertisement.  I buy it.

The last purchase I made was a food purchase.  I bought some cupcakes from Gigi’s Cupcakes.  Because my wife heard about how awesome they are from some people at work.  So I bought the cupcakes through word-of-mouth.

Other than other mundane purchases like groceries and gas, the only other item I purchased in the last few weeks was a Rubik’s Cube, which I knew of through years of word-of-mouth.   

Three years ago I bought an i-pod, but not because of the commercials.  Because my friends had them.  Then I bought mine from

Same thing with my GPS. 

Same thing with choosing Verizon Wireless as my cell phone company.

And my subscription to Details magazine. 

And going through to get my own website.

And my town house.  My wife’s friend already lived in that neighborhood.

And my Wii.  I was sold on it well over a year before it even came out.

Even when I see a commercial for a movie, I won’t go see it or rent it or even watch it at all until I’ve talked to someone who’s seen it or until I’ve read a promising online review.  Word-of-mouth.

As for buying music, I may buy a new CD if I hear it playing on the radio or at Borders, but that’s not advertising, that’s exposure. 

So there’s the pattern.  I only buy things based on the recommendation of a person I trust.  And of course they’re never the ones actually selling me the product.

Okay, I can finally remember a time when I bought a product based on a commercial or ad.  It was high school.  My freshman year: 1995.  I bought a Trix t-shirt because I looked through a t-shirt magazine my friend gave me.

Oh wait, nevermind.  I only got the magazine because a friend gave it to me and said that I would like it.

So the last time I bought a product directly because of an advertisement was probably back in the early ‘90’s when I would buy Ninja Turtle action figures.  Toys.  When I was a kid. 

As an adult, I guess I kinda like the idea of outsmarting the advertising departments of companies.

Bottom line:  If a product or service is worth purchasing, word will get around and eventually get to me.  That’s the only advertising that honestly matters to me.