Melissa Joan Hart on Breakfasting with Her Boys

03/09/2011 at 09:00 AM ET
George Napolitano/FilmMagic

Mom-of-two Melissa Joan Hart has been a staple on our TV screens for years — and now she’s hoping to share breakfast with us as well.

The Melissa & Joey star, 34, has teamed up with Kellogg’s to spread the word about their latest program with Action for Healthy Kids, called Share Your Breakfast.

Aimed at helping the 1 in 4 children who go to school without a morning meal each day, Hart dishes on her participation, the latest with sons Mason, 5, and Brady, 3 this week, and why her iPhone is always close at hand!

 

Can you tell us a little about the Share Your Breakfast program and why you decided to get involved?

It’s a wonderful program — Kellogg’s is teaming up with Action for Healthy Kids to get 1 million breakfasts to kids who may not otherwise get them by the start of the 2011-2012 school year.

The way they’re doing it is by asking people to snap a photo of their breakfast, then text it (send “share” to 21534) or upload the picture on the Web site (ShareYourBreakfast.com) every morning until July 31st. You can also Tweet it using the hashtag #ShareURbreakfast. Each time, Kellogg’s will donate to Action for Healthy Kids.

There are 1 in 4 kids that go hungry to school every morning … it’s just unbelievable and unacceptable. Kids need fuel in the morning to be able to focus on learning at school. There are more children in poverty now that there have been since the Great Depression.

They’re doing a great thing — I went to Grand Central [yesterday] morning and a bunch of kids came to eat with me for National Breakfast Day. We had cereal and Eggo waffles, and all the commuters coming into the city could grab cereal and information.

We’re just trying to get the word out, especially because it’s so easy to participate in this program. Change your Facebook profile picture, text a photo of your breakfast…

Since yesterday was National Breakfast Day, what’s a typical breakfast you’d serve Mason and Brady?

Well they’re obsessed with pancakes because their dad loves to make them in the mornings. They love their eggs and cereal, too.

Lately it’s been Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks — Mason loves to help out and pour Brady’s cereal for him. It’s when he gets the milk out that I get really nervous! Mason fills the bowl right to the top. But they say no use crying over spilt milk, right?

It’s the cutest thing to watch big brother take care of little brother.

What’s the latest with the boys? Last time we talked in August, you were dealing with preschool and potty-training…

Still potty-training Brady! He’s not taking to it — he’s just being lazy. It’s funny, Mason was so independent and fearless and Brady is more like, “Pick me up, carry me here, do this for me.” He doesn’t see the point of potty-training when he’s wearing a diaper and can just go in there. It’s so funny the differences between the two.

We’re still out on the East Coast and that’s where the boys are attending preschool — both of them just got their yellow belts in karate and have been taking ice-skating lessons.

Brady’s third birthday is coming up next weekend — how are you celebrating?

They’re like the Kardashians with all the parties! (laughs) For Mason’s fifth birthday [in January] we did Disneyland as a family, then had a bowling party with his California friends and went ice-skating with friends in Connecticut.

Poor Brady though — the youngest child always gets the shaft. He’s having his party at the same place he did last year — the local jumpy place, with lots of Buzz Lightyear. He’s obsessed with Buzz Lightyear! Lately he’ll only answer to Buzz and he calls me Jessie. I say, “Brady?” and he replies, “I Buzz, you Jessie!”

Then when Mark and the kids come out to California to visit me while I’m filming, we’re going to do a family trip to Sea World for his birthday as well.

So news just broke that Melissa & Joey will return at the end of June — what can fans of the show look forward to seeing?

I’m so excited — we have 18 great episodes coming up. The first 12 were wonderful but these are even better. The writers have the hang of it and everything’s really flowing now.

It’s been so hard to be at work filming this whole time and not have anyone see what we’re coming up with. Instead they’re saying, “You didn’t get cancelled, right? When are you coming back?” So now we know – June 29th! And then just before that, we have the first half of the season coming out on DVD on May 24th.

It’s going to be a great run; we have some wonderful guest stars coming on the show — Viveca A. Fox, Scott Michael Foster and John Ratzenberger. He did the voices for Hamm in Toy Story and Mack in Cars, and he came to the set and recorded messages on my phone for both of my boys. “Hey Brady, it’s Hamm … hi Mason, it’s Mack, I hear it’s snowing in Connecticut…” It was really cute.

Between filming the show and running Sweet Harts in California, plus being a mom at home in Connecticut, how do you stay connected with your husband and sons when you have to be away?

You know, everyone has to make sacrifices for their families and we’re no different. Thank God for the iPhone and the FaceTime application! I’ve been able to watch my sons at their school programs, taking their ice-skating lessons and getting their karate yellow belts. Sometimes I’m looking at the phone for 45 minutes while I’m in the makeup chair but at least I’m not missing the important moments.

Also my friends in Connecticut are just so great — they show up at school with lollipops and tell the boys, “Your Mommy wanted you to have these today.” Then they call me saying, “Umm, I gave your kids candy, I hope that’s okay…” but I really appreciate it.

It can be challenging but I think the move we made was really good for our family. It’s been great for Mason and Brady to be able to have a normal routine, for Mark to be with them and also be able to work on his music while I’m back and forth.

To keep up with Melissa, follow her on Twitter @MellyJHart, or become her fan on Facebook. Melissa & Joey premieres June 29 at 8 p.m. on ABC Family. To participate in Share Your Breakfast, snap a pic of your morning meal and text “share” to 21534, Tweet it with the hashtag #ShareURBreakfast, or upload it to ShareYourBreakfast.com.

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Showing 21 comments

klutzy_girl on

Interesting interview! Love Melissa! I’m glad she’s able to spend some time with her boys.

I’ve missed Melissa and Joey! Cannot wait until it returns.

julie on

What exactly does her husband do? Mark who? Working on his music, what music? Seems to me she is the one making all the sacrifices. I remember the special about her wedding. At that time I thought he and his family were very pushy, demanding, and controlling even though she was paying for everything. Looks like that has not changed. I feel sorry for her.

megan on

“He’s not taking to it — he’s just being lazy”

That’s hardly lazy. Little boys take to potty training later than girls

TJ on

Yes, my son was 3 1/2 before he was fully potty trained. But when he was ready, he was done. No accidents, no night wetting. So hang on Melissa he will get it soon and it will seem like magic!

torgster on

“He doesn’t see the point of potty training when he’s wearing a diaper”…duh I don’t blame him! The kid is supposed to understand that while it was perfectly normalk to go in it for three years, all of a sudden it’s not? And she wonders why he’s not trained?

JM on

i will never understand how any parent (father or mother!) can spend that much time away from their kids. i still don’t get why they don’t live in california with her? i know there are disadvantages wherever you live but surely the most important thing is being together if you can? and they definitely can, they have enough money… i just don’t get it. facetime and iphones do not make up for actually being there…

Alison on

It’s not really “that much time.” She’s in California for a week filming and home for a week, and if she’s gone longer, they fly out to visit. She’s explained it before. I think the boys are at an age now where it’s much more important for them to be in a routine at home, at their preschool, with friends. Plus their grandparents and extended families are in the NYC/CT area so that’s nice. Personally I say kudos for raising the kids outside of Hollywood. So many parents talk about doing it but MJH and Angie Harmon are the only two that I’ve recently seen follow through.

Sarah N on

It seems she spends a lot of time away from home just “plugging” stuff for money … I couldn’t do it. I have less money than her but choose to work part time to spend time with my daughter and feel very lucky that I can do that and regard it as one of life’s luxuries. Can’t understand the urge to make more money at the cost of family life. Sorry, it sounds judgmental, but my heart would just break if I had one week on, one week off from my family.

fuzibuni on

25% of all parents are sending their children to school without feeding them breakfast? For shame. You can make a healthy breakfast for less than a dollar at home. There is no excuse for neglecting to feed your child.

And the way Melissa used this interview to plug Kellogs Fruit Loops, Apple jacks and Eggo Waffles as a healthy breakfast is sort of disturbing. Have you read the ingredients on those things? They are more like a sugary dessert than a substantial meal. That’s not what growing bodies need… plus, I’m sure their teachers don’t appreciate dealing with kids who just ate sugar for breakfast.

Melania on

I think this program is admirable, but I do want to point out that all students who are considered below the poverty line do get free breakfast in public schools. It is a federally funded program under the Title I budget. In schools where 40% or more children receive free and reduced lunch, breakfast is provided to ALL students. So I understand that 1 in 4 children may not receive a healthy breakfast at home, but many, many receive a healthy breakfast at school. FYI, it is not Kellogg’s cereal. It is more likely to be a bran muffin and banana or an egg wrap and pears.

fuzibuni on

This is such a touchy subject for me. The fact that public schools and institutions like Kellogs Corp. are now feeding our children the vast majority of their meals each day, instead of parents, is not a positive or admirable thing in my opinion. It really doesn’t cost much to give your child breakfast. Plus meals are an important time to spend with your family.

I disagree that this issue is about not having enough money… It’s about being a responsible parent and taking care of your child. My friend is a teacher in South Central Los Angeles and due to the fact that the vast majority of parents expect the school to provide breakfast, means that she is now required to spend the first part of class feeding 30 kids and cleaning up rather than teaching them. And the food is usually highly processed and not very healthy.

Up till last year, the policy used to be that students would get fed in the cafeteria before school, but since so many parents are dropping their kids off late, the school district changed the rules and now kids go straight to the classroom and are fed at their desks by the teacher. So now my friend spends about an hour dealing with breakfast, while everyone misses out on the real reason they are in school… for the education.

It’s really not that hard, or costly, to scramble and egg and put it on some whole grain toast with a glass of milk and get your kids to school on time. Transferring the care of our children to corporations and government institutions does not bode well for our future.

Melania on

We also provide breakfast at my school. Although I have 29 3rd graders in my class, I am able to feed them all breakfast in 15 minutes. They know breakfast goes out the door at 7:45, period. So they all come at 7:30, so they can get it. Personally, I know some teachers that complain but it is only a tiny portion of my day. There is no way I’d spend an hour on breakfast or clean up after them.

Shawna on

Wow, talk about skewed mindset from some of you people! It’s not hard to scramble an egg, give them some whole wheat toast and a glass of milk? Wow, obviously you have never dealt with poverty or known anyone who has or you wouldn’t make such an ignorant comment! It has nothing to do with parents not wanting to take the time to give their kids breakfast or not caring – we are talking about there being people who can barely afford to feed their children.

Where I live a carton of eggs costs $3. There are 12 eggs. A loaf of bread has about 20 slices and costs $2. Milk costs $5 for 4 litres. So assuming you have 2 children and each is going to eat 2 eggs and 2 slices of toast that is 4 eggs and 4 slices of toast a day. A glass of milk is 1/4 of a litre and you’re going through 2 glasses for that meal so 1/2 a litre. So in one week you are going through over 2 dozen eggs, a loaf and a half of bread, and 4 litres of milk. So you’re at $14 for a week of breakfast and you did forget to add fruit so we’ll bump that to $20 a week for breakfast.

Sure that sounds like nothing to you but when your entire food budget for a week is $50 for a family of 4 how in the world are you coming up with $20 just for breakfast?? Likely you can hope to at least be able to give each kid a piece of bread with some peanut butter, maybe some sugary fake juice because it’s cheaper. But wait – you know that there are programs out there that can help your family, that can provide your children with some healthy breakfast choices so maybe, just maybe, you yourself will be able to eat supper every night this week instead of going without so your children can eat.

Open your eyes and see the world that many, many people live. My goodness.

dsfg on

Julie, so what if Melissa makes most if not all the money? There are plenty of other households where one parent works and the other parent stays home with the kids. In fact, there are many posters on this site who are stay-at-home parents. As long as Melissa is okay with him not bringing in an income, I don’t see why anyone else should have a problem with it. I’m sure she makes enough to support the whole family.

Tessa on

Why not serve them dinner too so parents don’t have to worry about anything?

kirsty on

where do you live that eggs cost three dollars? I just bought a dozen eggs for 69 cents and I live in Chicago!

Grace on

@Shawna: Well said! Some of you people have no grasp of the realities of the lives of those who are seriously struggling financially.

Jillian on

Kirsty where on earth did you get a dozen eggs for that price in Chicago? That is not the average price, especially in Chicago. Sorry, but it is not. A dozen eggs on average is easily over $2 in Chicago. Please tell me what store so my family can save a bunch of money…..I am assuming you are using coupons galore.

kirsty on

no coupons, its a deal for the week, but you can typically get eggs at meijer for 99 cents or trader joes for around 1.19. I live in a suburb about 20 minutes from chicago and the eggs are 69 cents this week!

Kathy on

Is she preggers again? Looks like she’s gained weight kinda all over. She looks great, just maybe like she’s expecting again. Would be great if she had a little girl!

Stacey on

The school system should not have anything to do with handing out free (i.e. taxpayer suppoted) meals. You had the kids, it’s your responsiblity to provide food. They are poor becsuse in most cases they dropped out of school, have no eucation, no skills, but of course, sure knew how to breed, and not just one. Get rid of the tv, cell phone, x-box, cigs, soda, chips, and look, you now have money for cereal and toast. As long as these people know they do not have to feed their kids, they never will. Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Keep giving a man a taxpayer paid for fish and he will continue to take it as long as you give it to him. Aid has done nothing but put more people on more entitlement programs then ever before. So, if you want to give aid, then YOU give it and stop forcing the taxpayer who doesn’t want to to have to, AND stop saying that those that do not want to support all this aid are bad people. Until YOU give up all yours, do not criticize me for not wanting to give up mine!

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