Stay-at-home dads of Homewood

Richard and Bette Bradley with their sons Eli and Sam. Photo courtesy of the Bradley family.


As we salute all the hard working dads out there this Father’s Day, we especially remember those that forgo the paycheck and stay at home with the kids. It takes a special kind of man to handle laundry, meals and carpool, not to mention the mental and emotional demands that all children create. While at-home parenting may be tough, at least the dress code is casual and the bosses are much cuter. Here are three Homewood stay-at-home dads who honestly and candidly give us a taste of their daily daddy duties.

Jeremy and Julia Bernstein with their sons Nate and Charlie. Photo by Anna Cate Little.

Meet the dads
Richard Bradley is married to Bette and the dad of Sam (2.5) and Eli (8 weeks).
Randall Griggs is married to Alison and the dad of Jackson (12), Samuel (10) and Peter (8).
Jeremy Bernstein is married to Julia and the dad of Nate (6) and Charlie (3).

Alison and Randall Griggs with their three sons, Jackson, Samuel and Peter. Photo by Anna Cate Little.

What is the best part and the hardest part of being a stay-at-home dad?
Richard: Of course, getting to watch your children grow and being a big part of that process is the best part. Two years ago, when my wife and I decided on this arrangement, I was worried I wouldn’t find being a stay-at-home dad as fulfilling as having a successful career. After getting into a routine, I can’t really imagine doing anything else that would be as fulfilling as supporting my family in this role. But, being a stay-at-home parent can be extremely isolating. Luckily, within a year I found a great group of moms that have welcomed me with overwhelming acceptance.  We have regular playgroups at each other’s houses, go to McWane and the Zoo together, hit up Chick-fil-a, etc. Continue reading


Michael’s Restaurant: Restaurant Showcase

Beef tips with your choice of sides are on the new lunch menu at Michael’s in SOHO. Photo by Madoline Markham.


A vibrantly backlit Birmingham skyline at dusk lines a wall at Michael’s Restaurant. The image reveals the heart of the steakhouse and bar: it’s a local, family-owned business full of history.

Michael Matsos opened Michael’s Sirloin Room in 1958. Its Southside location quickly became a hot spot for both quality food and the famous sports figures and Hollywood entertainers it served.

“Outside of Birmingham, you’re not going to know the name Michael’s,” said General Manager Eric Murphy.  “It’s affiliated with Birmingham. It’s affiliated with Alabama football. Bear Bryant hung out at the original Michael’s, and Bob Hope hung out there with him. It was not uncommon to see a big name person when you came into Michael’s.” Continue reading

Brandino Brass: Business Spotlight

Eric Brandino and his dad, Buster, re-established their family business, Brandino Brass, in Homewood in 2009. Photo by Craig Kleimeyer.


Brandino Brass doesn’t have their own brand, but the 63-year-old business has become so synonymous with hardware in Birmingham that people come into the store requesting it.

Tony Brandino, who passed away in May at age 96, started the business in 1948.
“He loved to sell and take care of people, and he treated all of his employees and customers like family,” said Tony’s grandson, Eric.

Tony, an avid University of Alabama fan who attended 500 consecutive football games, worked closely with Birmingham’s architects and designers as well as generations of homeowners. The store still sees customers come in whose parents and grandparents worked with Tony over the years. Continue reading

Where else, but Homewood

The Homewood Star contributor Anna Cate Little with her husband, Matt, and daughter, Caroline.


By the time you read this, I’ll be gone… in Georgia, surrounded by boxes, with my face in my hands. My husband would call that dramatic, but dramatic doesn’t begin to explain the way I feel about leaving home, sweet, Homewood.

Six years ago, I moved to Homewood, a newlywed. Three years ago, Matt and I brought home our precious daughter, Caroline, from Brookwood Medical Center to a warm reception of bows and signs from our neighbors. Speaking of neighbors, that’s where I’ll begin. Continue reading

Recipes fresh from the farmers market

Pita pizzas made with veggies and herbs fresh from a Saturday market pair well with a fruity glass of Strawberry Lemonade or Blueberry Limeade. Photo by Madoline Markham.


I grew up in Edgewood, just a couple blocks from New York Pizza, Broadway’s and Moneer’s (long before it became Sam’s Deli) and loved walking to the library and the park, especially for Free Friday Flicks. I always wanted to have dinner outside. Although it was never a proper cookout (we didn’t own a grill), nothing tasted better than the peppers and tomatoes from our own garden.
Today bringing home local farmer’s markets finds to cook for family and friends evokes the same summer evening bliss we had on our Edgewood patio. Continue reading

HHS ranked #3 in Alabama by U. S. News & World Report

Homewood City Schools is proud to announce that Homewood High School was named one of the “Best High Schools” by the U.S. News & World Report.  Of the Alabama public schools that made the list, Homewood was third in the state. 

 Schools were awarded gold, silver, or bronze medals based on state proficiency standards, how well they prepare students for college, and other factors. Homewood High School was awarded the gold medal.  The gold medal high schools are the top 500 high schools in the country.

 Among the 2012 U.S. News “Best High Schools” in Alabama, 3 were awarded gold medals, 17 received silver medals, and 73 were considered bronze medal schools. 

 Overall, more than 21,000 public high schools were assessed to produce the final list.  Homewood High School was ranked 435 nationally.

To view the ranked schools in Alabama, visit their website.

Words from the Catherine Sims Garden Dedication

Kimberly Sharkins shared these remarks at the dedication of the Catherine Sims Garden in Edgewood on Friday, May 4:

Mayor Scott McBrayer thanks Girl Scout Troop 152 for the cookies they made for Catherine Sims EcoScape Dedication. Photo courtesy of Caroline Hubbard.

A hat box, lady’s evening gloves, gardening books and dirt – what do these things have in common?  They are all characteristic mementos of Catherine Sims, better known to many as “The Plant Lady” of Homewood, Alabama.  A long-time resident of Homewood, Ms. Sims was born in Georgia and grew up in Norwood.  As a child she would ride the trolley “over the mountain” to visit an aunt that lived on this side of Birmingham and spent many a summer night sleeping on the front porch and taking advantage of the breezes that were the draw to the area.  When she and her mother moved here in the early 1960s, she brought her love of gardening to the area.  When she was not working as a teacher or later at UAB’s Spies Clinic doing dental research, her time was spent with her children – her plants.  A gentile southern lady with bright blue eyes and a warm smile, she didn’t meet a stranger.  Everywhere she went she offered plants to the people she encountered – from the receptionist, nurse and doctor at the doctor’s office, to the check-out and bag boy people at the grocery store.

Flowers like these pink blooms will grow to line the wooden posts and form a canopy as the Sims Garden continues to mature.

Continue reading