Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tide Pools are not Jacuzzis

We, 60 kindergartners, 30 parents, 3 teachers, and I spent a gorgeous day at the beach yesterday. We climbed over rocks in order to enter a small cove which was void of the raucous waves that our shores can deliver. Although our group wasn't the only group inhabiting the cove, is was quite barren.

In addition to the calm waters, there are a few cave cutouts the children enjoyed investigating, and a handful of tide pools. Since the tide was low, the kids could peek inside the pools of water and investigate the marine life bustling around in the water. When they weren't running inside the caves, poking at sea urchins in tide pools, or swimming in the frigid water, they were digging in the sand. Great times.

One of the "others" had a group of three adults and some large and smaller children. One of the adults was a large, grandpa-ish, balding man. Evidently he decided that one tide pool, with it's sun-warmed water and shallow pool was a perfect fit for his backside. He plopped his body down, leaned back with relaxation in full swing, and settled upon a plethora of marine life scattering and dashing for their lives. Earth to grandpa, tide pools are not miniature Jacuzzis!

I wasn't happy. I wanted to snap a photo of him and put it next to the sign which reads, "Take nothing, leave only footprints" with a sticky note which reads, "that includes not leaving your butt in a tide pool."

I'm one of the farthest things from a tree hugger, but when you sit on perfectly harmless sea life I get a bit edgy. Tide pools are are not for large, grandpa butts, and I'm sure that the sea urchins and small fish would agree with me, that is, as long as there are still some left in the tide pool.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Brownies


Our family, minus my girl, love Caramel Turtle Brownies in a box. They are easy to make and happen to be even more delicious with vanilla ice cream slathered on top. Whipped cream makes this delightful dessert even better.

Since the brownines are quick and easy to make I keep a steady supply of the boxed mix in my cupboard. I decided that the fresh half gallon of Double Vanilla ice cream in the freezer needed a brownie to snuggle with so I baked up a batch. As I flipped the box over to check on the baking time I noted a recipe at the bottom of the box. The recipe was for Caramel-Granola Brownies.

The folks at Betty Crocker thought that if you sprinkle a cup of granola over the wet batter in the pan, this would make for a deliocious alternative to their turtle brownies with Hershey's dutch Cocoa, caramel, and Diamond Walnuts.

FYI Betty, the word granola should never intertwine with the word brownie. I appreciate the suggestion, but please don't mess with my dessert.

Granola should only be consumed while you are wearing hiking boots, carrying a backpack, sporting a pocket knife and compass, and are thinking in your head, "I wonder if I could out run a mountain lion." Thanks anyway.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hair Raising

I never imagined that with one girl and three boys I would invest in such a plethora of hair products. When did water stop working as a "bed head" solution?

My daughter is the one who uses the least amount of products while the three boys uses five different types, however, she makes up for her lack of hair product consumption with her make up inventory.

The youngest insists on a faux-hawk (mohawk without the actual shaving of the sides of the head). This style requires a complete water wet down and stiff gel application, followed by a hairspray spritz.

The middle mister likes his a-typical boy style hair, combed over with a side part. He has enough hair to cover six bald heads. After a dousing of water and a few pumps of spray gel to get every hair in the downward position, a small slathering of stiff gel is required to keep the frontal "wave" in proper placement. If the gel step is left out, he returns from school with a head of soft fluffy hair, flat and disheveled. Not attractive, even for a kindergartner.

The oldest boy has always preferred his hair high and tight. A number 8 on the clippers. It is combed down on top, and sits straight up in the front, perfectly spiked. His product choice is pomade. At $10.00 a jar, I bark at him every morning to "please use sparingly." He follows the pomade with a layer of hairspray to insure every hair remains in its proper place - come rain, sleet, or snow.

I would have never guessed that we would be going broke because of hair products, especially with boys. Then again, with a dad who uses name brand shampoo, spray gel, and pomade, I should have seen it coming. I need to be more aware.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Energy Boost

We are surrounded with gimmicks which claim to boost our energy. For me, and old fashioned cup of coffee usually does the trick. Although I read somewhere that caffeine only stays in your system for 30 minutes, many would argue that they are unable to fall asleep if they partake in a caffeinated beverage after 3:00 p.m. On the other hand, I can fall asleep at 10:13 p.m. if I have a cup of coffee at 10:03 p.m.

My own kids have bought into the idea that speciality drinks will bring them more energy. There are hundreds of drinks, loaded with caffeine and other additives, which are supposed to help in the "wake me up" process. Unfortunately my four kids are curious and desire to experience the benefits.

My son was stung by a bee yesterday and woke up with a red, swollen, pinkie finger. My husband gave him Benadryl, and after my son's doctor's appointment he began complaining that he was tired. Benadryl can do that do an almost 12 year old in the middle of the morning, yet it usually had no affect at bedtime. What gives?

On our trip to the drugstore for Zyrtec, he asked for a "Red Bull" energy drink to snap him our of his semi-comatose state. I couldn't say, "no" fast enough.

How did we get through high school and college without energy drinks? I know one way, we didn't have nearly the homework load that students have today, or the stress. I would often pull "all nighters" in order to get art projects completed, and never remember having trouble waking up for class. I vaguely remember "No Doz" but never personally indulged. I guess that I did drink my fair share of Diet Pepsi though.

Since my son was denied the energy drink I loaded his backpack with candy, donuts, Twinkies, and orange soda. That should keep him awake until school gets out at 3:15.

As for me, I think energy is overrated. I love feeling like a mindless Zombie. Can you smell the sarcasm?

Monday, May 26, 2008

What's Worse?

I am the mother of two small boys who absolutely love Legos. They cannot put them together by themselves, so I am typically left administering construction.

My daughter missed the window on Polly Pocket so I am unfamiliar with Polly Pocket pieces. I am acutely familiar with Lego pieces. They are small, leave deep indentions on bare feet, small, hard to see, small, and seem to morph into more pieces overnight.

I'm in a quandary at to what is worse, Lego pieces all over the house, or Polly Pocket pieces all over the house. Here is my biased opinion since I have never had to deal with Polly Pocket pieces.

Legos make a loud noise in the dryer when they are left in pockets of pants. They cling-clang as the dryer drum turns round and around forcing me to pull every item of clothing out of the dryer until the microscopic "Lego-guy head" is located. Polly Pocket pieces are made of rubber and make no sound in the dryer.

When vacuumed up, Lego pieces replicate a box of opened nails being forced through the hoses. I feel like the vacuum cleaner is screaming at me, "Get these things outta here!" Polly Pocket pieces are soft rubber. The vacuum doesn't shout when they are sucked up the hose.

Legos are hard plastic, and leave holes in my feet when I step on top of them. Polly Pocket pieces do not leave gaping holes in tender feet.

Small Lego pieces are nearly impossible to locate on a whim. The couch plays home to countless amounts of Lego pieces which may never be retrieved. They are a choking hazard. Once a child plays with his Lego creation, it breaks, get thrown into a collection bin with other destroyed Legos, and never finds its original form again.

What's worse? In my humble opinion, I say Legos.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Most Hospitable

The oneth place award (that is how my little guys say, "first") for "Most Hospitable" goes to my five year old.

He has a voracious appetite for fueling the neighborhood with mid-day snacks and drinks. My snack bin empties at an alarming rate. "Who wants a snack?" he hollers out the back door of my house which leads to the back yard. "Who needs a juice bag?" At this time I am void of an additional 4-5 juice bags and have added to my shopping list the word, "snacks."

Most of the children take two or three snacks and I question whether or not they have eaten anything since breakfast due to their extreme appetites. The juice bags are squeezed dry and litter the grass and my little guy smiles, knowing that his friends are satisfied.

Today I will taking out a small loan in order to restock my snack bin. Also, I will be making a trip to Costco in order to purchase some drinks. After all, it is a holiday weekend, and the doorbell will be ringing soon.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Come On Carrie

You don't have to be an American Idol fan or a country music fan in order to know the name Carrie Underwood. She is beautiful, a great singer, and I used to like her choice of songs.

The Christian radio station that I like to listen to in my car always plays her song, "Jesus Take the Wheel." I never assumed that she was a Christian, but I felt that her moral compass was pointed in the right direction. I never hear any bad media gossip about her and she has done very well since her winning American Idol.

The other night, on the finale show of season 7 of American Idol, Carrie Underwood made an appearance. She looked fabulous - gorgeous. I commented to my husband that she has beautiful legs, and that mine are vein laden and gross. He mentioned the fact that she is 20 something, and that I have "popped out" four children, and as a result, have bad leg veins. He loves my legs anyway.

My husband and I were aghast at the song that Carrie chose to sing on a television show which caters to families. The show also has a very strong teen following, hence the screams from the audience. Her song was about getting drunk, meeting a guy on the dance floor, leaving at 3 in the morning, and going from "hey cutie" to "what have I done?" Evidently she marries the guy in Veges and doesn't know her "new" last name. Ewe.

Really. She couldn't think of a better song to sing on American Idol. Really? I couldn't let my kids watch that section of the show. Come on Carrie.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

All Things Have Their Place

My credit union ATM happens to be inside a Wienerschnitzel fast food restaurant. This poses a problem when I have children with me because inevitably they will request a hot dog purchase or soft serve cone when all I want to do to get my money and go. Note: I am rarely depositing money, just trying to get money.

The last time I went to the ATM I was without children. Errands go much faster when children are not present. (amen?) As I was standing at the machine, I heard a young girl say, "Mommy, look at the cute little dog."

At this moment, I assumed that the little girl was referring to a toy sitting on a table, or a stuffed animal, but NO. To my surprise, there was a family, sitting in a booth with their small, white, bare naked and furry dog sitting right next to them. Hello? Can you say health code violation?

I love dogs. Our dogs have always been house dogs, but, I do not love dogs in restaurants. I do not love dogs in malls either, or grocery stores. Dogs are not a fashion accessory to be worn at all times. There is a place for dogs, and Wienerschnitzel is not one of them.

I will now step down from my soapbox. Thanks you for your time.

Please tell your dog "hello" for me, unless it is too busy choosing snacks from the pet aisle at the grocery store.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Frank Disappointment

I arrived home after dropping off everyone to school only to discover a backhoe and two city vehicles parked in front of my house. A backhoe! I wanted to rush back to school and gather my two youngest and expose them to my awesome discovery.

I was immediately informed that the fire hydrant, curbside, was debunk and was told that it was being replaced. I motioned the workers to the back yard and told them that after they replace the patches of lawn they were about to remove, they could install the pool in the far right corner of my lot. They laughed.

I couldn't wait for the little kids to come home and see the construction vehicles parked in front of our house. The entire drive home I prepared them for the unbelievable sight. The anticipation grew as we drove closer to home.

When we finally reached our driveway they caught a glimpse of the backhoe. They said nothing. They walked into the house and began playing "restaurant" with their girl cousin. They couldn't be bothered with the events outdoors.

"What about the backhoe?" I questioned. "Don't you want to watch the worker guys outside?"

They wanted nothing, with a capital NO, to do with the worker guys or the backhoe. What happened to my truck lovers? Are they all grown up now and too cool for construction vehicles? Two years ago they would have burst a brain cell if given the opportunity to have a real live backhoe in their front yard. Boys would have gathered from a one block radius to witness the event, and I would have made some extra cash by selling overpriced cold drinks to the onlookers.

Backhoes are now passe. That's sad. The entertainment bar has just been raised.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weighty Matters

My husband thought that we needed a scale. I did not think that we needed a scale. I go by the standard that if my clothes fit correctly I'm good. If they are on the snug side, I need to cut my ice cream scoopage down from three scoops to two, and jog an extra half mile each week.

When I go to the doctor for my yearly check up, they always make me step on the scale. Before I exit the waiting area and hop onto the scale, I place a figure in my head that I think should register on the digital screen. I am always five or more pounds off, not in the "I feel great" direction, so, scales depress me.

Every so often they tell my my weight in kilometers. This always makes me smile since I have no idea if the two digit number is close to, or far from, the number in my head. I don't do metrics very well. America doesn't do metrics very well. I'm sure that Brad, the Canadian Pastor knows metrics.

My kids love to play with my husband's scale. This morning my youngest mister and I had a very enlightening scale conversation:

"Can I weight my Lego guy?"
"He is too small to weigh."
"Can I weight myself?"
"Sure, you weight 39.6 pounds."
"How much does this chair weight?" (He only had the leg of the chair on the scale)
"It weighs 1.7 pounds"
"Can I weight the toilet?"
"You cannot take the toilet off of the floor in order to weigh it."
"I could with a jackhammer." [pause] "How much do you weight?"
"I don't know."
"I do. You weight six hundred six."

Excellent.

From now on I am going to hide the scale, and any jackhammers that may be nearby.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Get It Right!

I blew it again. I tried to be more aware, but I blew it.

The little kids and I were sitting inside McDonald's. That is not the "I blew it part." They were happily enjoying their Speed Racer toys as I monitored their food consumption.

A gentleman approached me from behind and slid three packages of stickers in front of me. I turned to him and said "Oh, thank you!" assuming that he was a friendly employee passing out stickers to the young men and women in the restaurant.

As I looked at the stickers further I noticed a little piece of paper attached to the top which read: "I am deaf. Stickers are $1.00. Thank you." My smile was erased, and I shoved the stickers aside.

A voice/the Holy Spirit, told me to give him five dollars, I refused, questioning if the man passing out the stickers was even deaf in the first place. I watched, wanting to catch him in the act of holding on a conversation with someone, but he dashed out before I could accuse.

Five dollars kept ringing through my head as he left. Instead of running after him, I let him go, still convincing myself that he was a "scam artist" who doesn't deserve my five dollars.

I will never know if the deaf man was real, or fake, but I do know, that I have a five dollar bill in my wallet that the Lord told me to give away regardless of what I assumed. I ignored Him. I need to be a better a listener.

I really hope that I get it right next time. Really.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Remodel

I am attempting a blog remodel.

I got tired of the green, green, green, and, I am not savvy enough to have a fancy blog which resembles something out of a web design catalog. I am subjected to the templates provided by Blogger.

I have decided, that when I win the lottery, which by the way, I bought a one dollar ticket and won absolutely nothing, I will have a fancy website and top notch blog background. For now, I'll have to try and woo every one of my 16 readers with witty posts instead of design savvy eye candy.

Trust me, when I am able to gather an extra $20,000.00 my blog will have dancing dogs which come to life at the click of the mouse and entertain you. Any post which refers to food will have the exact smell emerge from your computer and waif around your nose. A butler will sit in the corner of the screen, ready to serve your every need with a simple click, and soothing music will serenade your ears as you read each post.

For now, you must endure "Tic Tac Blue" Blogger template. It is not overtly special, but it gets the job done, and it is free. I LOVE free.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Popcorn

My middle mister wanted popcorn for breakfast. I always have a steady supply of microwave popcorn in the cupboard so popcorn was an easy "meal" for me to make. Odd choice, but easy. I figured it was more nutritious than a cold bowl of sugar coated cereal.

Before there was microwave popcorn we had an air popper. It was necessary to melt a cube of butter to cover the puffs since air popped popcorn was so dull and tasteless. I was never a huge fan of air popped popcorn.

My mother, to this day always makes popcorn from scratch. She dribbles a hint of oil inside a deep pot, sprinkles the bottom of the pot with kernels, turns up the heat, and shakes the pot until every kernel is popped. She melts the necessary amount of butter, a lot, distributes it evenly, then tops the fluffy white goodness with salt. There is nothing better than homemade popcorn.

In college we would splash the popcorn with water then shake gobs of Parmesan cheese all over the top. This was a delicious alternative to salt and butter which we assumed to be low-cal. Assumed.

The best popcorn ever, in my opinion, is made at Disneyland. Maybe since I don't get to have it very often it has a great appeal to me. First runner up in the popcorn poll is Target. They do a great job of popping corn, and the $1.00 popcorn combo is the best bargain ever. Movie popcorn is good too, although, I always get a stomach ache after eating movie popcorn because I pour on too much fake butter/butter flavored oil/yellow colored sauce that they call melted butter.

I will not have popcorn for breakfast, however, I do have to make a quick trip to Target this afternoon, and popcorn does make for a delicious lunch choice. If I add a side salad I should cover at least half of the food groups. Half is good, not great, but good.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sweet Sleep, or Not

As if I had been struck with something hard against the head, I suddenly realized the situation in which I was standing.

My older children were at school for another two hours, and my two youngest were sound asleep, nestled in the confines of their own beds for a good napping. A rare moment.

What was I doing, mopping the floor. Before that, I decided to diligently dust the blades of the ceiling fan. Preposterous! What mother in their right mind, with two children sound asleep would be cleaning? Evidently this mother.

I have come to realize that my children have an innate sense of smell, much like that of a blood hound or some other type of crime sniffing canine. Let’s suppose for a moment that I were to cozy on my couch with a stack of shiny magazines and mystery novel as opposed to scrubbing and scouring. The repercussions would be dreadful. My sleeping children would no doubt smell my relaxing pheromones, or what ever they are scientifically titled and immediately wake up. Strangely enough, the scent slithers like a foggy mist under their shut doors waning into their nostrils thus causing caffeine like wake up effects which explode any relaxation already in progress.

This pheromone smelling, napping extravaganza also occurs when my husband is home alone with the little ones while they are napping, although it has the opposite effect. I quickly realized that my husband’s body does not radiate the misty, pheromone relaxation aroma. When I return from running errands, he is often found sitting on the couch absorbed in a great novel or enjoying a competitive game on television, with a smile on his face.

“Are they still asleep?” I question. To which he replies, “We are past the three hour mark” Preposterous indeed.

In three months, when my youngest decide to nap again, I will make better relaxation choices. I may even take a nap myself, but that may be too risky.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wrong Move

I had a bout of laziness. I filled a bowl with cold spaghetti sauce and placed it in the microwave oven. I didn't feel like reaching the four feet required to grab a paper towel and place it over the bowl.

Truly, I figured that if I heated it for just the right amount of time it would not dance and bubble inside the microwave oven and cause a mad spatter of red sauce over the five exposed surfaces.

I didn't catch it in time. There was a mad splatter of red sauce covering the five exposed surfaces of my microwave oven. My laziness resulted in a three minute clean up. Sauce was everywhere.

I could have been one of those people who rarely cleans in innards of their microwave and lets the spattered food fester and harden over time. I could be one of those people who could open up their microwave and conduct a series of science experiments with the food attached to the walls and door. However, I'm the one who cleans up under people's plates while they are still eating. Not a great trait.

Next time I decide to heat something in the microwave that has splash and splatter tendencies I will remember to cover it with a paper towel, either that, or learn how to relax more and clean less.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Look

Today I got the look. I also got the honk. In one shebang, in 8 seconds, the look and the honk. I must have done something terrible wrong and inconsiderate. I must not have been paying attention.

I only had one child in the car. I was paying attention. I wasn't on the phone. I wasn't trying to undue an ensuing fight by flailing my right arm like a whip to the folks sitting behind me, I was actually calm and subdued. It was still early.

Driving my preschooler to school I noticed a stretch of the road was soaked from some sprinklers which remained on longer than they should have been. The puddles I was approaching were deep enough to cause a spray and dirty the windshields passing over the wet road.

My car had been washed on Friday. This was the first time I had gotten my car washed since January. I slowed my car down to avoid the inevitable spatter of dirty, street water. Evidently the car behind me wasn't pleased with my slowing down. She honked. She than speed past me, turned her head toward my window, and glared her fiery arrow eyes in my direction.

I speed to reach her car, I slowed until I was even with her car - window to window, and smiled enough to stretch my face until it hurt a little. From then on she avoided me entirely. I think my kindness, although laced with sarcasm, squelched her bitterness. Either that, or she labeled me as a freaked out mom, on an overdose of children. That's okay.

I wanted to pull over and explain my motive, but she turned right and I went left.

My car remained clean, that is, until it rained. It always rains a week within my car getting washed, always. I should know better, really.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Smell Test

It fascinates me how certain smells can evoke memories. My best girlfriend growing up always used Herbal Essence Shampoo. Whenever I catch a whiff of Herbal Essence it takes me back to sixth grade, the beginnings of my boy craziness, and playing the game "Truth of Dare" in the grassy field behind our classroom.

I love the smell of new books and magazine. For some reason it reminds me of my weekly visits as a high school student to our local library where my friends had the job of being a library page. When I first got my driver's permit, my mother allowed me to drive the 1/4 mile to the library by myself. Pure joy. Rule breaker deluxe.

My mom always had a grand supply of homemade chocolate chip cookies around our house. I used to sit on the stove top while the oven was on, waiting for the fresh baked goodness to be removed from the oven. My bottom was always warmed by the heated oven.

Now I make my own version of chocolate chip cookies, and the smell takes me back to our 700 square foot condo which was purchased by my mom after my parents divorced.

My favorite smell is freshly sharpened pencils. It must have something to do with my first attempts at teaching fifth graders. I love to sniff them the second they leave the electric pencil sharpener. I make sure that no one is looking as I stick them up to my nose and breathe in deeply.

I wonder what smells will bring back great memories for my own children. Hopefully burnt sponge is not one of them. That would not be good.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake


The first time my eyes gazed upon this beauty I was smitten. There it sat on the pages of my Women's Day magazine, wonderful in every way. I had to have it. It would be the perfect gift for Mother's Day - Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Instant Fudge Frosting.

I'm am still mourning the fact that I never got a birthday cake. When I saw the recipe and picture for the Buttermilk cake I knew that it was the perfect choice, however, I didn't know how the assembly and creating was going to fit into my schedule.

I left the photo and recipe on my counter so that I could stare at it and dream. My mouth watered and my lips trembled at each look. I hoped to hand it off to someone and have them joyfully create it, but who?

My mother arrived on the scene and questioned, "What can I bring for Mother's Day?" The sides of my lips curled into a smile as I reached for the recipe. "Do you love me?" I questioned. "Of course, why?" I handed her the recipe and photo and shared my dream of slicing a piece of the triple layer cake on Mother's Day and escorting it to my mouth with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Although the ingredients list was intensive and the creating would be time consuming, she agreed to attempt making my Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Fudge Frosting. I could not wait. I was so thankful, and repeatedly told her so.

My mother's labor of love was divine - everything I imagined. It was dreamy. It was fudgy and fantastic. Unwillingly, I shared my cake with everyone, and they all loved it. No slice was wasted.

Leave it to my mom, and her generous spirit, to offer her baking services. She is always willing to do anything for me, including, spending time and money to make my dream cake, the day before Mother's Day. I owe her big time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Seeds

In my preteen years we lived close enough to a convenience store that my girlfriend and I were able to walk over and purchase an Icee and sunflower seeds without any adult supervision.

We would sit in the park for hours discussing boys, girls, and everything in between as we slurped, stuffed our cheeks with seeds, and spit the outer shell. This was pure heaven.

I hadn't purchased a package of "seeds" since then, until recently. It is now my mantra to stop at the snack bar prior to attending one of my two son's little league baseball games, pay my one dollar for a package of sunflower seeds, and spend the entire game cracking shells and eating the nut inside. It gives my mouth something to do. Practically everyone does it, and the stands are littered with shells.

No one wants sunflower seeds from Trader Joe's which are already cracked open, roasted, salted, and delicious. That would be cheating. I know, because I offered everyone in the stands at our last baseball game pre-cracked seeds, and I got no takers. They like the work, the experience of sucking the salt off of the shell and cracking open the hull. Interesting.

What is it about a little league baseball games which brings out a desire to eat sunflower seeds? Major leagues have their peanuts, NFL football games have their beer, and our little league field has their sunflower seeds.

The season is almost over, and the seed purchase will inevitably end. I will miss the wrinkles inside my cheeks from holding a lump of seeds while they wait to be cracked and spit out, and the bonding I share with the other parents as we pass a bag of seeds around for consumption.

I'll have to wait until next year, when all three of the boys are playing baseball at the same time, for the first time. It is then I will not only need a bag of seeds, but a steady flow of caffeine as well, to sustain my energy after spending my entire Saturday on the little league field. Good times.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Funnel Cake


I accompanied my fifth grader on a field trip to Knott's Berry Farm - America's First Theme Park. We didn't go for the rides, but for the history, although the students did get to ride on three rides. We visited the Mining Train, Blacksmith Shop, Birdcage Theater, General Store, Old Schoolhouse, and the Log Ride, among other places I cannot remember.

The students enjoyed the trip for the most part, but wanted to ditch the educational aspect entirely and just ride the rides. Understandable.

I knew one thing when I signed up to be a driver on the field trip, I was not going to leave "America's First Theme Park" without purchasing, and indulging in, a funnel cake. My mouth watered all day for this greasy delicacy consisting of deep fried batter swirled into a "nest" and then topped with powdered sugar.

Each time we passed a funnel cake shop, I checked my watch in anticipation of the field trip ending so that I could secretly capture the goodness, grab my fifth grade son, and enjoy some trans fat together.

Other park attendees passed by with their funnel cakes as I stared, and drooled. Some were topped with jam, some strawberries, and others hot fudge.

At the perfect point, while the students were lining up for another ride, I mentioned my motive to my son's teacher, "I need a funnel cake!" She smiled as she looked at me and said, "Unless you want to purchase one for everybody, no funnel cake." I quickly calculated the cost of purchasing funnel cake for 23 students and six adults at $6.99 a pop. I did not have an extra $209.70.

I left, "America's First Theme Park" with no funnel cake rolling around in my belly. In sadness and despair, I settled for a black coffee from Starbucks and noted that the Orange County Fair would be coming to town in July. It is a long wait, but at least they have funnel cake.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Boys Only

As I sat in the hallway outside my son's speech class a group of three boys waited for their turn with the speech teacher. She was running overtime and the three boys were growing restless waiting their turn.

One boy stuck both of his arms out and noted, "These are missiles!" and then produced a mantra of automatic riffle sounds like only the truest of boys could produce. My lips flutter into a wet heap and resemble the noise emitted from an injured cat when I attempt to replicate a machine gun in full action. People get wet. It's not pretty. I'm not a boy.

After the war reenactment grew dull one of them blew his hot, moist, afternoon breath toward the other two and asked, "What does it smell like?" The smellers began guessing in hopes of arriving at the correct answer. "Gum?" "Nope." "Cheese Puffs?" "Yes! Your turn!" To them this was fun. It was a puzzle of sorts, trying to guess what the other had recently eaten. Neither of the other two boys waved their hand in disgust, but instead, leaned closer toward the hot breath in hopes of gaining a better grip on the permeating smell.

Girls don't play the "Smell my Breath" game, ever. Never. And, most girls are horrible at car, gun, prowling animal, and bodily function, noises. Boys rule in that department. Who said that boys and girls are the same? Someone who was blind, very hard of hearing, and had a poor sense of smell.

Later, Lunch

It is a good thing that my children have been attending the same school for ten years. I am a fixture on campus whether I want to be or not. I know the staff, the guy who runs the bookstore, the security guard, and the art teacher.

After I picked up my little people who are dismissed at noon, I sauntered through the quad area when I heard my name shouted out from the art cart being pushed by the art teacher. Her daughter is the same age as my oldest boy.

"Linda, during art elective, I saw a crow eating your son's lunch!"

"What the...what?"

"Yea, when I walked outside to switch classrooms, I saw that the crow had pulled out his lunch bag from his backpack and pecked at the contents. It was eaten by the time a saw it"

"What the...really? Is there anything left for him to eat."

(It is ten after 12. My littlest are in full-swing whine mode and just want to go home. My son has lunch at 12:20.)

"The crow ate his sandwich and chips. I also saw it eating his M&M's."
(Now the whole school knows that I slipped some candy inside his luch bag for dessert. I don't think that I care though.)

"So what is left?"

"I think he had a drink, and some candy."

"So, I need to go and purchase him a lunch? He has no lunch?"

"Unless you want him to eat candy and a drink."

Super. This could only happen to me/my son. The crow, out of over one hundred backpacks hanging outside the 5 classrooms, chose my son's backpack. Evidently I make a lunch which satisfies the taste buds of the local crows. Perfect.

I had to buckle up the little kids, drive through somewhere quickly,
the line was FOREVER long, go back to school before 12:20, and deliver the lunch.

Meanwhile, the little kids now want fast food too, they are whining incessantly at my continueous "no, we can eat at home," they don't understand why we have to drive back to school, I have just burned through another 6 dollars, and, I hate crows, crow are dumb, and I hate crows. Note this post.

Just another blogworthy tale, at my expense. Caw, Caw!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hand Wash

The car wash place can never get the inside of my car as clean as I can. I will be taking a brood of boys on a field trip, so instead of attempting to answer a barrage of questions like, “Why is there red punch on your ceiling?” and “How come this fruit snack is stuck on the seat?” I decided to thoroughly scrub the innards of my almost 12 year old car. Fun stuff.

I think that I used ¾ of a bottle of Windex.

My rubber mats had unusual black goo attached to them and as I gathered the soap, water, and a scrubbing brush, I came across some Tilex Soap Scum cleaner. Although there was no soap scum on my rubber mats I assumed the concoction of chemicals would make for a spectacular solution to conquer the mess which had built on my mats.

I spread out the grey mats on my driveway, sprayed away, dipped the brush in soap and water, and scrubbed until my armpits were a little sweaty. As neighbors drove by and waved I felt proud of the fact that I was taking my car cleaning into my own hands, even if my two youngest were inside the house fighting miserably, I couldn’t hear a word.

What I did not realize as I was cleaning is that the Tilex mixture contained bleach. After a good soak, I retrieved the garden hose, sprayed down the mats, and discovered the unintentional art work covering my grey rubber mats.

My mats now look as though someone took a paint brush, dipped it in white paint, and splattered the mats. They’ve been bleached, not in an even coat, but in a lazy splatter.

Note to self: Do not clean rubber car mats with Tilex. I believe that Tilex is strictly for - tile.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Magazine Bliss

I never realized that a little catalog could bring so much joy to an almost 5 year old and a just turned 7 year old. Man!

Today marked the arrival of the Lego Club Magazine . Even though I have never ordered anything from this catalog, it's arrival = a Sharpie pen and tons of black circles.

My two smaller boys spend many minutes, circling and discussing their choice in Lego toys, shouting out their requests as I repeatedly mention, "Your birthday just past" and "Your birthday is coming."

After 7 minutes, the fighting begins as one of the boys circles something the other boy wants, and the seven year old repeatedly commands, "It's MY magazine!!"

The same thing - joy - rules, when my husband receives his weekly Sports Illustrated magazine. However, he refrains from circling six-pack abs and arm muscles the size of a small child, along with other things he desires that cover the glossy pages. No one fights him for a look of his magazine, if fact, we avoid it at all cost.

I don't have a favorite magazine, but I do have a stack of eleven waiting to be read. Eleven. Perhaps it would be wise to open a few and fetch a black Sharpie pen. After all, Mother's Day is just around the corner, and people will be bearing gifts, hopefully.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Shopping With Dad

While I finished scrubbing the bathroom and floors my husband offered to take the three boys grocery shopping. My daughter opted to stay home and continue her litany of excuses as to why she was unable to accomplish anything other than watching television.

I trusted that my husband would happily get through our grocery list. I was anxious to discover how much fun he had taking a gaggle of restless boys on a grocery store outing.

When he finally returned I wasn't worried, just curious.

"How did it go?"
"They were terrible."
[I smiled]
"Welcome to my world. Next time you should take all four of them."
"I promised them that they could choose their own food item if they were good."
"But they were terrible."
"They were just wild. Of course they had a ball."

Here is a list of the items I now have in my cupboards and freezer which Dad allowed them to purchase:
2 boxes of frozen, chocolate chip waffles
2 boxes of frozen mini pancakes
1 box of Strawberry Milk Shake Pop Tarts
1 box of Hostess Cupcakes
1 box of cheese covered Texas Toast
1 box of Apple Jacks cereal

Guess what we are having for dinner tonight? Waffles, pancakes, and Texas Toast. And for dessert? Pop Tarts and Hostess cupcakes. Oooh yummy. We won't need another carb for months.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

No Thank You, Thank You Notes

I have no problem expressing my thanks. I am thankful when little people attend my son's birthday party and shower him will cool stuff that we don't have to purchase. I am also thankful that those same little people come to his party, participate in the activities, don't waste too much food, eat the cake, and don't complain. I love non-complainers and participators.

I have no problem with giving someone a gift and having them tell me thank you. I also do not have a problem when I send a treat in the mail, and the receiver calls to say thank you. I love when a child looks at my child after he opens a gift and says, "Thanks!" Personally, I do not need to have a thank you card sent, in addition to a verbal, "Thanks!" but that's just me.

For that reason, I struggle with sending thank you notes for my son's birthday party. I feel like the person receiving the thank you note tosses the contents into the garbage shortly after reading the information. I know, that the parents know, that my son is thankful. Does that count for anything?

Proper etiquette tells me to send a note of thanks. I would leave the act in my son's hands, but he is too young to get through 14 thank you notes. It would no doubt end in tears and frustration. I do not need tears and frustration today.

So, today I will be creating, and filling out thank you notes for a birthday party which occurred last week, even if I don't feel like doing it. At least I will be doing my part to appear acceptable, socially, and for that, I am thankful.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Odor-Free

For kitchen clean-up in or home, we use a sponge. According to the package label, the sponge we use is supposed to be odor-free, however, after a weeks use, the sponge is anything but odor-free.

The sure-fire way to rid any and all micro-bacteria from growing into a flourishing garden is to stick the sponge into the dishwasher and let it run through a cycle, but, I am impatient, and needed the sponge issue to be resolved more quickly.

I had heard that if you microwave the sponge, the germs and bacteria are instantly eliminated. I stuck our stinky sponge on the glass plate in the microwave, set the dial to thirty seconds, found another task in which to involve myself, and waited.

You may think that burned microwave popcorn is the worst smell however, burnt sponge kicks burnt popcorn's butt.

The fibers on the back side of the sponge were a black, plastic mess. The smoke was toxic enough to kill a swimming goldfish, and the sponge was deemed useless.

Although the sponge was bacteria-free, the next time you have to deal with a stinky sponge use the microwave, however, I advise that you set the dial for ten seconds, not thirty. I am a wealth of information

Friday, May 2, 2008

Where's my Purse?

I'm am at a constant stress about losing my purse. Actually I don't feel like I would actually lose my purse, the stress comes from thinking that I do not have an eye on it at every moment, it will be stolen. I am always checking for the whereabouts of my handbag.

I once left my purse on a plane in Chicago, 10 years ago. When I rushed back to get it, and the crew let me back on the plane, the men and women cleaning out the seat back pockets and overhead bins claimed that they had never seen it. Imagine that.

The time and frustration it takes to replace all that belongs in a purse is painful, and for that reason, I am always keeping close tabs on its location.

I even go so far as to slip it behind my feet while I am driving. I fear that if I place it on the seat next to me, someone may open the passenger side door and grab it while I am sitting at a stop light. I should lock the door right? I do, then I imagine someone breaking my window to grab the contents. As if this could all transpire at a single stop made in front of a traffic light. It is my little paranoid feeling.

None the less, I love my purse. I wish to keep all things in my purse. I shutter at the thought of ever having to replace all of the items in my purse; gift cards, pictures, driver's license, receipts, checkbook (yes, we still use a checkbook), and sunglasses. Note: I did not mention money. I hardly ever have more than 5 dollars tucked inside the pocket of my wallet.

I wish that purses made for a cute accessory, then I could just wear my purse around my neck. At that point, I would always know where it was, and no one could ever take it from me.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Other "F" Word

I love the "F" word. I love it more than my 40% off discounts. However, I love it only when it has some significant value.

I love the word "Free."

Free shaver in the Sunday morning newspaper, great!

Free smoothie because the cashier got the order wrong, perfect!

Free vitamins to try for three days, I'll swallow them now.

Buy one bag of chips and get another free. Where is my wallet?

Free sample of Krispy Kreme Donut when you walk in the door. Love to!

Try a sample of Starbucks new Cookies and Cream Frappuccino complete with a whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup? Sure! May I have four more for each of my children? You bet! Wonderful!

It is the little things that excite me. Typically those things which are free.