the Peanut Butter Club gathered in the Matthew 25 farm tractor

Wine for a Good Cause

Last week was a gorgeous week weather-wise in Central New York. One weeknight, our family traveled south of the city of Syracuse to a very special farm in Lafayette, New York, called Matthew 25. Founded 10 years ago, the farm is completely run on donations of time, talent and treasure. The farm grows crops and gives them away to the poor.

We joined the Peanut Butter Club from St. Mary’s Church in Baldwinsville, New York to work for an hour on the farm. After enjoying some pizza and meeting everyone else, the kids got right to work hoeing and planting carrots, four long rows worth! The children’s ages ranged from 2 or 3 to 11 and they needed a bit of guidance. That’s where the parents came in. But, they managed to get all the seeds in the ground with time to spare.

I’m super glad we took the kids. They definitely learned a valuable lesson about helping others in need. In fact, when asked what she did last week, Lucia, who is 8, said, “We planted carrots for poor people.” Message received!

When we arrived home, after getting the kids in bed, we enjoyed a Pinot Noir I found at the corner liquor store. Cline was excellent! Cline Cellars are located in Sonoma County, California, a hotbed for excellent Pinot Noir. I even bought another bottle a few days later – it was that yummy!

Matthew 25 is always taking donations. You can sponsor a crop, volunteer to tend the crops or even harvest them, which we plan to do come August. There’s nothing better than to model the behavior you want to see in your children while helping those in need. We felt good about what we did and enjoyed a rare evening together as a family with no electronics. If you live in the CNY area, I highly recommend looking into Matthew 25 and seeing how you might be able to help its mission. Cheers!

farmer Rick shows the kids how to plant carrotsLucia and Christopher help another girl cover the carrot seedsMaria and Christopher plant carrot seeds



Children Cost a Lot….and so Does the Wine!

It’s the time of year when the Department of Agriculture releases its study about how much it costs to raise a child. This year, the department estimates the cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610, or as much as almost $14,000 annually. And this is based on 2015 numbers!

Reading this made me think about all the incidental expenses that go along with raising children, such as the wine that we parents need as a nightcap after said kids are in bed. So, I did a little calculation of my own.

If you and your spouse drank an average of two to five bottles of wine a week, at an average cost of $10 per bottle, it would be an investment of approximately $19,000 to $47,000 over the life of your child. That’s a lot when you consider it’s around 20 to 25% percent of the total cost to raise a child!

children-costAll kidding aside, parenting is a financial investment, sure, but it’s also an emotional and loving investment. So, although the ┬áDepartment of Agriculture cannot put a price on the love and devotion we parents have for our children, the study is a good reminder that we need to be financially prepared as families to raise our children.

It’s also a good idea to be financially prepared to celebrate as families, too, and spend quality time as a couple. So, the price on that wine? It’s a small one to pay for happiness in the home! Cheers!