Mama Diaries

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Miss Kind Heart

My daughter is a very sensitive young lady. Today, as we were driving to the store, she saw a man on a street corner holding a sign. It said, "Will work for food."

"Awww," she said. "Look at that homeless man. He looks so sad. Can we help him?"

"I don't have any cash," I told her. (This was true. I'm one of those moms who runs around with a few pennies in my purse. I definitely have to do something about that!)

"Can we buy him some food?"

I thought about that. We were going to Target. I could buy him something there.

"All right," I said. "We'll get him a Lunchable."

Then it started raining.

"We better get him an umbrella too."

So that's what we did. We bought a Lunchable and one very large umbrella for the man.

What a thoughtful daughter I have!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


We have a pet frog named Croaky. He has had quite a history in his short three years on the planet. He miraculously survived a fall from the balcony in our house to the first floor. (My son decided to take him out of his aquarium to play with him, but the slippery creature jumped right out of his hands and hopped over the balcony.)

Today Croaky had yet another adventure. It was cleaning day. Usually Croaky is very cooperative about getting into the net so he can be transferred to the smaller fish bowl. Not today. He had other ideas. He jumped right out of the aquarium into the sink. I thought for sure that he was going to go down the garbage disposal. I tried grabbing him. That didn't work. I tried using the net to corner him. After a while, I finally got the little frog and plopped him back into the water.

I think Croaky definitely has nine lives!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Watering the Kids

It's hot here in Cincinnati. The hydrangeas are not liking it one bit. This evening they were looking a bit droopy, so I decided to give them some relief. I went out and started watering.

It didn't take long for my kids to notice. Soon they were both running outside with their bathing suites on.

"Water us!" they yelled.

So I did.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Where's the Giraffe?

Today I took my kids to an old farm. It was one of those historical places that gives you an idea of what life was like in ancient times. The kids marvelled at the beds, and the old tools. My son thought the outhouse was pretty cool too.

The barn was one of the most fascinating places. There was a huge tower with a wind mill on top. My son asked what was in that tower.

"A giraffe," one of the workers said.

"No there isn't!" said my son.

"Sure there is. It's so tall to fit the giraffe's long neck."

My son looked at the guy kind of funny. I don't think he bought that one.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Job Please

My eight-year old daughter loves animals. She has been begging for a dog since she was four years old. Lately she has been on a mission to convince her father and me to let her have a dog. I tried explaining that dogs are a lot of work. I tried explaining that dogs ruin hard wood floors (which we just had refinished). I tried explaining that dogs are expensive, and that when they get sick, the doctor bills aren't covered by health insurance. She didn't care about any of that. Finally I had a brilliant idea.

"Let's go to the animal shelter and see if you can volunteer there. Then you can take care of all kinds of dogs," I said.

She was very excited about that. So we hopped in the car and drove to the nearest animal shelter.

"I want to volunteer," she announced to the man behind the desk.

"Well now," the man said, "How old are you?"


"Sorry. You have to be at least sixteen."

She was heartbroken. She still wanted to see the dogs. There were a lot of them - all yapping and smelling up the place. She wanted to take every single one of them home.

On the way home, she spotted another sign: Kennel. "I want to check that place out!" she said.

I guess we'll be asking for a job at that place tomorrow.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Messy Man

My five-year-old son decided to make cupcakes today. He wanted to do it all by himself. He poured the cake mix into the bowl. I'd say at least three quarters of the flour landed in the bowl. The rest was all over his shirt. "Good job!" I said. "You got a lot on your shirt, though."

"That's part of being a chef," was his reply.

Then he added the oil, water, and eggs. I had to help with the eggs.

He mixed it all up with a spoon, managing to keep most of it in the bowl.

Then it was time to fill the cupcake holders.

Wow, was that a mess! He insisted on doing it himself, though, so I let him. When he was finished, he had batter all over his face, arms and hands. He was a sight to behold!

Eighteen minutes later, the cupcakes were ready. They weren't pretty, but they sure tasted good!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Fun

Today's bit of craziness took place at a local park. At first everything went pretty much as planned: The kids played on the swingsets and then went down to the river and splashed in the water. They found several fossils, a crayfish, and a snail.

When it was time to go home, the craziness started. First, my daughter spied a baby toad hopping around in the grass. Of course she had to catch it. Then my son wanted to hold it.

"Put the toad back in the grass, and let's go!" I said.

Did they listen? No, of course not. "I want to keep it!" my son said.

"I want ice cream!" my daughter said.

"What?" I exclaimed.

To make a long story short, we ended up walking to the ice cream store, with my son holding the toad. I carried out the chocolate gelatos melting all over my hands. It was 94 degrees, so you can just picture that one.

"I think the toad pooped on me, " my son announced.

"Great. You certainly deserved that one!" I responded.

My son put the toad in his cup holder in his booster seat. Then we sat on the grass and ate our melting gelatos.

After eating those, we made our way back home, sticky hands and all. (I had forgotten to get napkins!) We took out the car seat and opened the cup holder. No toad! The search began. I certainly did not want to smell dead toad in my car!

Fortunately we did find the toad. We put him in the woods behind our house. I hope the poor creature wasn't too traumatized!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Today my kids experienced a hurricane. "Where?" you ask. At the mall. Okay, so it wasn't a real hurricane. It was a hurricane simulation in a wind tunnel. What will they think of next for moms to spend their money on?

I just wanted to get a quick birthday present for my mom, but no! That darn hurricane simulation machine was standing in my way. I tried to race past it, hoping that my kids wouldn't notice. They went to it like magnets.

"Please!!!!" they begged.

"It's a waste of money," I said.

"But it would be so cool to see what it's like in a hurricane."

"I used to live in Florida. It is not cool to be in a hurricane!" was my reply.

They continued to beg. Two dollars. All right, for two dollars I'll let them feel the winds of a hurricane.

They went inside and found out just how loud hurricane winds can be.

"I don't ever want to do that again!" they both said as they came out.

Good. One less thing to deal with at the mall.

Friday, June 18, 2010


My daughter is a girly girl. She loves wearing dresses and lip gloss. She loves having her hair and nails done. She also loves perfume.

In addition to being a girly girl, she's a bit of a scientist - a chemist. She loves concocting her own soaps, shampoos, and perfume. I don't know how she does it, but she always manages to create some pleasant-smelling concoctions.

Tonight she decided to create some perfume for her brother. She got out her lotions and potions and started mixing. The result was some intoxicatingly sweet lotion. My son thought this was great. Before I could stop him, he slathered up his arms with the stuff. Now he stinks, his room stinks, and the whole house stinks!

It's a good thing the daddy isn't home!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chocolate Milk Stand

What in the world am I talking about? I thought kids were supposed to have lemonade stands in the summer. Not my kids. Those creative geniouses had to do something different. Here's how that story went:

"Mom, we want to have a lemonade stand."

"We don't have lemonade."



"Orange juice?"


"Kool aid?"


"Let's go to the grocery store and get some."

"Nope. I have four loads of laundry to do before I have to teach. Let's do this tomorrow."

Of course they couldn't wait until tomorrow. So what did they do? They got out the milk, the Hershey Syrup, and whipped cream, and set up shop in the driveway.

Their customers thought it was the most delicious chocolate milk they ever had!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Indian Boy

I like to take my kids on "adventures" in the summer. We visit new places and try new things. This week's adventure was to an Indian village. It was a neat place. Indian artifacts were on display in an indoor museum, and an entire village was reconstructed on the grounds outside. My kids had a great time going into the Indian houses, playing with squash rattles, and sitting around the fire pit, just as Indian boys and girls would've done in 1100 AD.

Before we left, we stopped at the museum shop to pick up a trinket to remember our visit. My son picked a couple of arrowheads. I thought he'd put them on the shelf in his room when he got home. No. He wanted to make an arrow with them.

So he got out the yarn, found a big stick, and attached the arrow to the stick.

Then he ran around hollering like an Indian. I quickly confiscated that weapon! My little Indian wasn't too happy.

"Here, " I said, "Play with your suction cup bow and arrow set."

He put his goose feather behind his ear and went off on a big deer hunt. Fortunately he didn't come back with a deer!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Do you remember catching fireflies when you were a kid? That was one of my favorite summertime things to do. Last night my kids and I went out to catch them. Dressed in pajamas and equipped with a net, baseball hat, and jar, we ran around the yard chasing the little flying light bulbs.

The kids squealed with delight every time they caught one. When we were finished, we had ten little bugs in our jar, all flickering that familiar yellow glow.

Of course they wanted to keep them, but the daddy insisted that they let them go. Disappointed, they released them into the night sky.

"Bye bye little fireflies, " they said. "See you next time!"

Monday, June 14, 2010


My husband likes tinkering on his motorcycle. He spends a lot of time in the garage with his bike on the lift. In fact, I think that's what he's doing right now. Occasionally he'll ask me to assist. This evening I was in the middle of putting together and 800+ piece lego set when he requested my services.

I went out to the garage. "Here. Hold down this wrench and apply a lot of pressure," he said.

I did. After doing so, I noticed my hands felt a little slippery. I looked at them. They were coated with a bunch of silver gunk. "Ewww," I said. "What's that?"

"Anti-Seize," my husband replied.

"Oh." I wasn't too thrilled to have that on my hand, along with the dents in my palm from applying so much pressure on that wrench. (He was putting on a wheel.)

After the project, I went in to wash my hands. "Mommy, you look like an indian!" My daughter said.

I looked in the mirror. Sure enough I had silver anti-seize streaked across my face. It looked like war paint. So what did I do? I did a little pow-wow dance around the house. My kids thought it was great!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lobster Friend

It was my husband's birthday today. His dinner request was lobster. So we made a trip to the grocery store and picked out four lobsters - the kind you see in the aquarium with rubber bands around the claws.

"I'm naming this one Penelope," my daughter said, pointing to one of them. "And this one's Sarah, and Robert, and Jack."

"You shouldn't name them," I said. "You'll get too attached!"

We brought the lobsters home and put them on ice in a cooler. All day long my kids popped open the lid and played with the little crustaceans. Then it was time to cook them.

My daughter sat at the dinner table and sulked. "It' just not right to eat them!"

My husband cracked open a claw. "Yep, " he said. "You should've named them 'Dinner!'"

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Good Laugh

My kids were in top form today. I think it had something to do with the fact that my daughter had a sleepover with one of her friends last night. You know what that means: no sleep!

There was lots of bickering, obnoxious behavior, and mess making. I think they even had a plot to exterminate the mommy when they came up with some horrid looking drink that they wanted me to injest.

By the end of the day, I had had enough! My son decided to continue his antics at bathtime. I told him to stop goofing off. He grinned from ear to ear. "Come on Mom, I'm just having a good laugh. Everyone needs a good laugh!"

Ha ha.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I bet you're thinking I'm going to talk about food again. Nope. Not this time. The raspberries I'm talking about are the kind that daddies give their kids on their cheeks and tummies. (In case you don't know what I'm talking about, it involves putting one's lips against the cheek/tummy and blowing really hard to make bathroom-like noises.) My husband loves giving my kids raspberries. My kids squeal with delight every time he does. (They like to pretend though, that they don't want him to do it.)

Now here's the funny thing: I found my son giving raspberries to his tiny lego characters. I just had to laugh! He's become a chip off of the old block!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Strawberry Pie

It seems we have a bit of a food theme going on this week. Here's today's food story: My daughter wanted some dessert after lunch. I happened to be busy, and didn't feel like taking the time to make a dessert, so I said, "Go make a strawberry pie."

She looked at me like I was nuts. She knew the pie I had made about a week ago required a lot of work, and the use of the oven and stove. Had I lost my marbles (well, yes, but that's another story)?

Fortunately, I had gone to the grocery store and bought one of those Keebler Graham Cracker crusts, and some of that strawberry gel stuff you can mix with strawberries to make a pie.

"Take the stems off of the strawberries, mix them with this gel in a bowl, and top with whipped cream. It's a piece of cake. (Um, pie.)"

So my daughter hauled the strawberries, mixed them up, poured them in the crust, and topped it all with whipped cream. She was very proud of herself, and had to call her grandmother to tell her.

I smiled. It's good to have one independent kid who doesn't need me 24/7!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Worst Cook in America

And the award goes to.....ME! Why? Well, let me tell you my story.

I pulled out some chicken from the freezer. By late afternoon I was ready to prepare it for dinner. I fired up the grill. I seasoned that chicken with my special grilling seasoning. Then I slapped that chicken onto the hot grill.

About ten minutes later, I called my family to the dinner table.

"What are we having?" they asked.


I cut up the chicken for my kids. It didn't look like it was quite done. So I put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. When I pulled it out, it looked done.

I put it on their plates. "This doesn't taste very good, " they said.

"Put some barbecue sauce on it," was my reply.

I tasted it. "Yuck!" I thought.

"Honey," my husband said, "This isn't chicken. This is high-quality tuna that cost over ten dollars per fillet."


Monday, June 7, 2010

Kitchen Competition

This seems to be a continuation of yesterday's story. My son once again informed me that he wanted to make me a snack. "Here we go again," I thought.

Today, however, there was a new twist: My daughter wanted to get in on the action. It was going to be a contest to see who could make the best snack. Out came the lettuce, and the fruit, and the cheese, and the chocolate chips, and the yogurt. Oh yes, and the caramel corn.

By the time they were done I had ten culinary masterpieces: American cheese with a chocolate chip smiley face, assorted fruit with nuts and yogurt, whipped cream with chocolate syrup and marshmallows, among other things. I think the most creative concoction was a slice of bread with nutella, bananas, chocolate chips, and caramel corn.

"Eat up, Mommy!" they said when they were finished.

"Do I have to?" I asked looking at the sickeningly sweet entres.


"Okay. Mmm. Delightful, delectable, delicious." I lied.

My poor stomach was so sick after that. At least their creations looked good.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Chef Bubba

This afternoon my five-year-old son announced that he wanted to make a snack for me.

"I don't really need a snack," I said.

"But I really want to make you a snack," he replied.

"Okay," I said.

"I'll need some lettuce."

"We don't have any lettuce in the refrigerator," I replied, "but there's some outside in the garden."

"Would you go get it?"

"Why don't you get it?"

"I might pick the wrong thing."

I went out and picked some lettuce.

"Please wash that and put it in bowl," he instructed.

I looked at him funny.

"Now we need some tomatoes," he announced after I put the lettuce in the bowl. "Will you please slice some tomatoes?"

Since I didn't want the little guy using a knife, I complied.

"That can go in the bowl too," he said.

I looked at him wondering what he was up to.

"There you go," he said with a big grin. "Your snack is ready!"

Wait a minute. Wasn't he supposed to make the snack?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mad Rush

Have you ever had one of those days where you are running from one thing to the next without having much time to stop and breathe? That's how my day was.

It was recital day for my piano students (which is why I had been baking so much the last few days). I quickly cleaned the house ( a touch-up from yesterday's mad cleaning frenzy), then set up all the cookie trays, fruit trays, veggie trays, etc. After that it was time to get dressed. Now this wasn't any old dressing up. My daughter had a dance performance right after the recital. If you're a mom of a dancer, you know just how much work goes into getting into costumes, fixing hair , and makeup.

We managed to get it all done. We had the recital, a very quick reception, zoomed on the highway, and made it to the dance location, where my daughter ran onto the stage and performed, with not a second to spare.

Now here's the funny thing. My husband was supposed to help with all of this. We wouldn't have had such a rush if he was around to take her to the dance place right after she performed at the piano recital. Where was he, you ask? Off at a motorcycle ralley on the other side of the state. He had totally forgotten he was supposed to help me.

Such is the life of a mom.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Watermelon Crawl

One of our favorite summer fruits is watermelon. That sweet, juicy melon really hits the spot on hot summer days. Today my kids decided to have a "picnic" out on our front porch. They got out the picnic blanket, food, and an assortment of odds and ends and made themselves comfortable.

I decided to cut up the big melon that was sitting on our kitchen counter. My kids must have smelled it, because they came running in begging for a slice. I gave them each a big piece and warned them not to let it drip on the ground. "That's a sure way to attract ants," I said.

So they went back out onto the porch. Now my little guy is a very messy fellow. He just can't help himself. Of course he had watermelon juice all over his face and all over the ground. You know what that means: Ants! Sure enough, they came, marching in their little formation right up to the front porch to get a drink.

"Ants!" my daughter screamed.

What did my son do? He crawled right up to them and dripped more juice on them. "Look," he said, "they want a picnic too!"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cookie Monsters

My kids love cookies. Come to think of it, I think most kids love cookies. Today was cookie baking day. These cookies were supposed to be for the reception after the piano recital this Saturday. They just smelled so good though, that my kids couldn't resist.

"Mommy, can we have a cookie," they asked.

"Okay, just one."

"Mmmm! Those are yummy," they exclaimed.

"Good," I said. "Now leave them alone. Those are for Saturday."

I left them on the counter to finish cooling.

Then my husband came home. He found the cookies, and before I could stop him, he ate half of the plate (this is the guy who ate 120 chocolate chip cookies I had made and put in the freezer for the holidays. Nothing was left in the container except a little note that said "num, num, num.")

"Those were for the recital," I told him.

In his best cookie monster voice he replied, "Me love cookies!"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Reading Material

Now that summer vacation has begun, it is time to start the summer reading program. This annual event is hosted by our local library. So my kids and I got in the car and made our way to the library. When we got there, we went directly to the children's section. My son scanned the books. "Where are the Star Wars books?" he asked.

"I don't see any Star Wars books," I replied.

'Then go ask a worker!" was his response.

"I'll go to the computer and check the library catalogue."

I found the location of the Star Wars books. He wanted to check out all ten of them. We checked out six. I told him to leave a few for other Star Wars fanatics.

We went home and read the books. I could not believe that he actually knew the names of all of the fighter planes. "That's an ARC-170 Fighter, and that's a Jedi Interceptor, and that's a Droid Gunship, and look, it's an AT-RT Walker!" he told me.

Wow. I wonder if that had to do with all the Lego sets we've put together, or the Star Wars video games he's been playing with his dad?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Adventures in Driving

Getting around downtown Cincinnati is no easy task. My experience today once again confirmed this. I was taking my kids to a park/playground along the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati. I had tried this last year, but we never made it. Reason: I was hopelessly lost on all of those one-way streets! I thought I'd try again this year.

So we packed up the car and headed towards the Queen City. "Okay kids," I said. "I'm going to need a little help because I'm really stupid when it comes to getting around Cincinnati. I need you to look for E. Pete Rose Way."

They weren't much help. We didn't see E. Pete Rose Way anywhere. I couldn't just turn around, because I was on a one-way street. So I cut across two lanes and made my way to 5th Street. I knew 5th Street was the way to the freeways.

Soon we were back on the freeway (not the one we arrived on though). "Mommy, we want to go to Sawyer Point," my kids yelled from the back seat.

"Fine, I'll turn around and try again." I got off at the next exit. It was not easy trying to locate the way to the highway that led back into downtown Cincinnati. We drove another ten minutes before we found it (what is it about road designs in Cincinnati?)

Soon we were back downtown. "Okay. This park is under the big yellow bridge. I'm just going to head in that direction." So that's what I did. And guess what? After several turns which were not on my directions, I found E. Pete Rose Way. We made it to Sawyer Point and the kids had a great time.

Either Mapquest has some serious problems with giving directions through Cincinnati, or I'm a really stupid Clevelander!