Mama Diaries

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Prehistoric Pets

Our pet supply has dwindled over the last year.  We used to have 26 pets (most of those were fish).  Now we have three:  a cat, a dog, and a frog.  My nine-year-old son didn't think that was good enough.  So when we went to Barnes and Noble book store and spotted a kit for growing triops, my son insisted we buy it.  (Who knew you could find pets at a book store?)

A few days ago, we set up the aquarium (these are water creatures).  We emptied half of the egg packet and waited for something to happen. Today something happened.  Three baby triops hatched.  What the heck is a triop?  Let me show you:

Isn't it cute?  Don't you want to snuggle up next to it?


Triops were around during the time of the dinosaurs.  Somehow they managed to survive global warming and environmental pollution.  Now let's see how long they survive in my son's room!

Hope you all have a very Happy New Year!  Best wishes for 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ghosts in the Gold Mine

Thank you to all who visited during the 'Tis More Blessed Giveaway.  Milo James Fowler is the winner of my books.  Congratulations, Milo!

I took my kids gold mining in the northern hills of Georgia.  We had a great time.  Our stash amounted to fifteen flakes of gold, so I guess we'd better not quit our day jobs!  While we were on the underground mine tour, we heard a lot of tales about ghosts.  Apparently quite a few folks died in the mine.

Our guide led us to a dark area.  "Right in this very spot, the ceiling collapsed, killing all the workers under it.  The supervisor was standing over there."  He pointed to an area about twenty feet away.  "He was so mortified about losing his workers, that he went home and didn't eat or drink.  He died in about a week or so.  It's said that his ghost comes back to take care of those he lost.  So keep your eyes out for him."

That little speech totally freaked out my nine-year-old son.  "Mama, do you think that's true?"

"I don't know, Bubba.  But if it is, I doubt you're going to see him."

Bubba wasn't so sure of that.  He stayed close by my side as we walked through the cold, damp tunnel. After a while, he stopped.  "Look, Mama.  What's that?"  He pointed to a shadow on the wall. It wasn't very big, but it was an unusual shape.

I shrugged.  "Let's check it out."  I walked over to inspect.  "It's a ghost."  I said.

Bubba's eyes got big.  "Really?"

"No, Bubba.  Not really.  It's a bat.  See?"

I pointed at a cute fuzzy thing hanging from the ceiling.

Bubba breathed a sigh of relief.  "Oh.  It's just the ghost's pet."

Thursday, December 26, 2013

'Tis More Blessed Giveaway and The Stink Zone

I know I'm a day early for this, but tomorrow I'm going gold mining with the kids, so ya'll are getting an extra day to participate.

Every Friday in December, as part of the 'Tis More Blessed Giveaway, hosted by Milo James Fowler, I have given away free copies of both of my books (That Mama is a Grouch, and That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN) to one lucky winner. This is the last Friday of the month, and therefore the last chance to win.   Even if you already have copies, feel free to participate, because they could make great gifts for anyone you know.  Just leave a comment below for a chance to win.  These are hard copies of my book, and I am willing to mail them anywhere in the world.  Be sure to visit Milo to find out who else is participating and have a chance to win their books as well.

Now for the story:

My twelve-year-old daughter is a girly girl. She likes makeup, fashion, and perfume.  So for Christmas, I had the brilliant idea to get her a perfume-making kit.  I don't know what I was thinking, but it sounded like a good idea at the time.

She opened the package and discovered fourteen vials of oils, ranging from woody, to citrus, to floral smells.  "What do I do with these?" she asked.

"I think it would be a very good idea to read the directions and find out ."

She made a face and popped open one of the vials.  She gave it a good sniff.  "Ugh!"  she said.  "This smells like poop!"

I looked at the bottle.  Musk.  "That doesn't surprise me," I said.

She grabbed a citrus vile labeled, "Lemony."  She opened it up and took a whiff.  "Better."

Meanwhile, I had picked up the instructions and started reading.  I knew the girl wasn't going to do it, so I figured I'd better give her some guidance.  "Okay.  Here's a sample recipe.  You need five drops of Lemony, one drop of Mella, and six drops of Finalia."

She picked up a vile and suctioned up five drops.  She put it in the mixing cup.  "Mom," she said after she sniffed it.  "This doesn't smell like Lemony."

I took a sniff.  "Nope.  I think it's Mella."

"What do  I do?"

"Multiply all the totals by five."

I let her do her thing.  When she was done, I sniffed the finished product.  "Whoa.  That's strong!  What the heck did you put in there?"

"Fifteen drops of Lemony, twenty five drops of Mella, and six drops of Finalia."

I shook my head.  "Girl, do you not know how to multiply?"

She grinned.  "Yeah, but I think something is wrong with my nose, because it stinks in here and I can't smell a darn thing!"

(Uh huh.  And apparently sitting in the stink zone has adverse affects on one's brain, thereby decreasing one's ability to do math!) 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cup Games

At my son's school Christmas party, there were a variety of games - toss the marshmallows through the wreath into the bucket, Hershey kiss unwrap, candy cane hook, and jingle bell jump.  It was my job to man the snowball ping pong game.  Kids were supposed to bounce a ping pong ball into plastic red cups. 

I stood behind the table, ready to catch whatever balls came my way.  Easy, right?  Wrong!  Not when you have six kids lined up with balls, all bouncing them as high as they could.  Those wild balls went everywhere!

"Hey," I said.  "Can we do a tamer version of this game? How about one at a time, and try to aim for the cup."

They thought about that.  Then my son had a brilliant idea (go figure!).  "Let's play bowling!"  He grabbed the cups, lined them up, and rolled the balls, knocking them down. 

"Okay," I said.  "This is interesting."  It went smoothly for a while, but then the balls and cups started flying everywhere.

I sighed.  "Time for another game."

Another kid had an idea.  "Let's make a cup castle."

Everybody thought that was great, so they made a towering masterpiece.  Which worked just fine, until another kid decided that it was time for an earthquake to strike.  The tower toppled over.

"Anybody else have a brilliant idea for what to do with cups and balls?" I asked.

We went through a bunch of games, including, "guess which cup the balls are under."

Finally one little girl grabbed a cup.  "Cup song!" she announced.  She did a lovely rendition of the infamous cup song, after which everyone segued into the "What does the Fox Say?"

Cup, cup, cup, cup cup, cup, cup cup cup cup, cup cup cup cup cup, cup!


Merry Christmas, everybody!  Hope you enjoy the day with your families!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winner of the Giveaway and Conch Phones

Thank you to all who visited my blog and commented during the 'Tis More Blessed Giveaway.  The winner of my books is Kristy Marie Feltenberger Gillespie  (Wow, that's a mouthful!)  Congratulations, Kristy!  I hope you enjoy the books!  There will be one more chance to win next Friday, so be sure to stop by.

Now for the story.

My nine-year-old son brought out a couple of conch shells and handed one to me.  "Mama, talk into this quietly."

I held it like a microphone and started talking.

"No, Mama.  Like this."  He put his conch shell up to his ear like a telephone and started talking.

I looked at him kind of funny.  "Don't you need some kind of connecting wire between the two shells for it to work like a phone?"

He shook his head and spoke into his shell.  "Can you hear me?"

"Yes, Bubba.  I hear you."

He walked into the other room and did the same thing.  "Can you hear me?"

"Yes, Bubba."

He came back to where I was.  "Mama, conch shells are perfect phones.  They echo real far, so you don't need wires!"

Okay.  Maybe I should suggest using conch shells to the telephone companies.  Then we can all walk around with shells plastered to our heads!   

Friday, December 20, 2013

'Tis More Blessed Giveaway and an Award

Every Friday in December, as part of the 'Tis More Blessed Giveaway, hosted by Milo James Fowler, I am giving away free copies of both of my books (That Mama is a Grouch, and That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN) to one lucky winner.  Even if you already have copies, feel free to participate, because they could make great gifts for anyone you know.  Just leave a comment below for a chance to win.  These are hard copies of my book, and I am willing to mail them anywhere in the world.  Be sure to visit Milo to find out who else is participating and have a chance to win their books as well.

I'd like to thank Deanie Dunne and Susanne Drazic for giving me the Wordpress Family Award.

The rules for this award are:
1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate ten others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family.
4. Let your ten family members know you have awarded them. That’s it!  Just make sure these people have taken you in as a friend/family member, and then spread that love!
Here is my list of ten bloggers.  All of these people visit my blog regularly.  Special thanks to them for always stopping by and leaving comments!  If you don't know any of these people, be sure to visit them.  They're awesome!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Underwear Overhead

I'm always complaining about my family members not cleaning up their dirty clothes.  I don't understand why it's so difficult for them to get their things off the floor and put them in the hamper. 

Well, today my husband had a brilliant solution to the problem.  I walked into my bedroom and looked up.  Hanging from the ceiling fan, was a pair of underwear, an undershirt, and a pair of socks.

"Really?" I said.

My husband came in with a huge grin on his face.  "They're not on the floor, are they?"

He had a point.  But I bet it took a lot longer to get those things on the fan, than it would've taken to walk over to the hamper and toss them in!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ebook Giveaway and Bringing Back the Dinosaurs

I'm giving away free ebooks on Facebook as part of a Christmas Author Fest that's going on over there.  I'm also celebrating getting 500 likes on my Facebook fan page.  Because you are all so awesome, I didn't want to leave you guys out of the fun, so here's the information on how to get free electronic copies of That Mama is a Grouch and That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN.  (I'm still giving hard copies of them each Friday in December, so be sure to stop by again for that.)

That Mama is a Grouch is available on Smashwords.  Use coupon code ZW62Y.  Offer expires December 31, 2013.

That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN is available on Amazon.  Offer expires December 22, 2013.

Now for the story:

"Mama," my nine-year-old son said.  "Wouldn't it be cool to have a Tyrannosaurus Rex?"

I looked at that kid.  "No.  T-Rexes are pretty fierce.  I wouldn't want one running around my house!'

"But Mama, if you trained it when it was a baby, I'm sure it could be good."

"No, Bubba.  A T-Rex is not a creature that can be domesticated.  And even if it was good, it would take one step and demolish everything!"

He thought about that.  "How about a pterodactyl? It would be like a big parakeet."

I shook my head.  "You couldn't have a dinosaur even if you wanted one.  They're extinct."

"I could bring them back to life from fossils."


The boy grinned.  "Yeah.  You can extract their DNA from the rocks and grow a new one."

"I don't think so, Bubba."

"I know it can be done.  And when I'm a grown up, I'm going to do it!"

So, ladies and gentlemen, if in about twenty years you see a triceratops in your backyard, you can thank Bubba.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Where the Socks Go

Have you ever wondered where socks disappear to when they get washed and dried?  I always seem to have at least one sock without a pair when I finish the laundry.  Well, now I have the answer.  The dryer eats them!  How do I know?  Let me tell you.

I had finished another load of laundry, and as I always do, I took the lint catcher out to clean it.  I normally do not look in the space where the lint catcher sits, but out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a dust bunny.  I bent down for a closer inspection.  Sure enough, it was a dust bunny.  A giant one that looked to be about the size of a hare.  I pulled it out.  That's when I discovered that the dust bunny was attached to a pair of underwear.

Hmmm, I thought and tossed it on the floor.  I looked inside and saw that there was something else still down there.  I couldn't reach it with my fingers, so I grabbed the closest thing I could - a paint brush.  I maneuvered the handle into the crevice and came up with something else. A sock!

To make a long story short, the paintbrush and I pulled out two pairs of underwear, and four socks -  all covered in dust. 

So ladies and gentlemen, learn from me.  If your socks go missing, open up your dryer, lift out the lint catcher, and see what your machine has been snacking on.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Winner of the Giveaway and Finger Thermometer

Thanks to everyone who left a comment during the 'Tis More Blessed giveaway.  Helena is the lucky winner!  There will be two more chances in December to win, so be sure to stop by this Friday for another opportunity.

Now for the story.

My nine-year-old son, Bubba, hasn't been feeling well.  He wanted me to take his temperature.

"Sorry, Bubba," I said.  "All the thermometers in the house are broken."  I felt his forehead.  "You feel okay.  Maybe it's just a cold."

"No, Mama.  I have a fever."  He stuck his finger in his mouth.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

He held up his other finger, indicating that I should wait.  When he was done, he pulled out his finger and looked at it.  "Just what I thought.  99.9 degrees.  I have a fever."

"A finger thermometer?"

He nodded.  "Yep.  They're the best kind!"

Friday, December 13, 2013

'Tis More Blessed Giveaway and Mr. Conversationalist

 Every Friday in December, as part of the 'Tis More Blessed Giveaway, hosted by Milo James Fowler, I am giving away free copies of both of my books (That Mama is a Grouch, and That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN) to one lucky winner.  Even if you already have copies, feel free to participate, because they could make great gifts for anyone you know.  Just leave a comment below for a chance to win.  These are hard copies of my book, and I am willing to mail them anywhere in the world.  Be sure to visit Milo to find out who else is participating and have a chance to win their books as well.

And now for the story:

My nine-year-old son likes to talk to everyone he meets.  He'll go up to random strangers and just start asking them about their day.

Yesterday, I took the boy to get a hair cut.  When it was his turn, he sat in the chair and yappity yapped about whatever was on his mind at the moment.  The stylist, an Asian man, interjected a comment or two.

After we had left, Bubba commented, "Mama, I didn't understand a word that guy said. But since I'm so good at talking, it didn't matter!"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mama Marinade

I pulled a pork loin out of the refrigerator and slopped a mixture of mustard, apple cider vinegar, and basil on it.  Then I tossed it in the oven.  "I have to go to work," I announced.  "Can you pull this thing out of the oven when it's ready?"

"Sure," my husband said.

I left.  A few hours later, when I came back, I asked my husband how the pork was. 

"It was good, but it took a lot longer to cook than you said."

"Oh.  That doesn't surprise me," I replied.  "It was a little bit frozen when I put it in the oven."

"What? You marinated a frozen loin?"

"Partially frozen,"  I corrected.

"Woman, that's like frosting a frozen cake."

"So?  You can frost a frozen cake. Just like you can marinate a partially frozen loin.  Just deal with it!"

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I don't work in a fancy restaurant! 


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Magic Belly Button

Every day, I test my nine-year-old son on his math facts, using flash cards.  Yesterday, we worked on multiplication.  He did well for a while, then he had a harder problem.  He grabbed the card from my hand, pulled up his shirt, and shoved the card in the little crease by his belly button.

"What exactly are you doing?" I asked.

"Math," he said.

"How is shoving a flash card in your belly button, doing math?"

"It's a magic belly button.  It reads the card and tells me the answer."  He looked down at the card and jiggled it around his belly button.  "Eighty-one,"  he announced.

I took the card from him.  "Right."  I gave him another problem and he did the same thing.

"Sixty-three," he answered.

"Mmm hmmm," I said.

"See, Mama. It works.  Don't you wish you had a magic belly button?"

Um, yeah.   

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winner of the Giveaway and Cut Out Cut Out Cookies

Thank you to everyone who visited and left comments in the "Tis More Blessed Giveaway hosted by Milo James Fowler.  The winner of my two books is Janie Junebug!  Congratulations, Janie! 

I'll do the giveaway again this Friday, so please stop by for another chance to win.

Now for the story:

'Tis the season for baking Christmas cookies.  Yesterday, I made cut out cookies - sugar cookies in fancy shapes, decorated with way too many sprinkles.  When they had cooled, by kids naturally wanted to try some. 

"One cookie," I said.

They each grabbed the biggest one they could find.

My son, who had taken a bell-shaped cookie, started meticulously biting into it.  I watched him, fascinated.  After he had taken a few bites, he showed me the result.  "A moose," he announced.

"Nice," I said.

He munched some more.  After a few more bites, he held up a star.

"Pretty good," I said.

Finally, he munched his way to a circle.  "A snowball."

He plopped that thing into his mouth.  "I didn't have one cookie, Mama.  I had four!"

What a genius!


Friday, December 6, 2013

'Tis More Blessed Giveaway and Runaway Dog

Every Friday in December, as part of the 'Tis More Blessed Giveaway, hosted by Milo James Fowler, I am giving away free copies of both of my books (That Mama is a Grouch, and That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN) to one lucky winner.  Even if you already have copies, feel free to participate, because they could make great gifts for anyone you know.  Just leave a comment below for a chance to win.  These are hard copies of my book, and I am willing to mail them anywhere in the world.  Be sure to visit Milo to find out who else is participating and have a chance to win their books as well.

Now for the story:

Schultz, our three-year-old German Shepherd, has generally been pretty good.  When he was a puppy, he was in  trouble just about every day, and had numerous time-outs in his crate.  Well, his "good streak" ended yesterday. My husband let him outside for a potty break.  He even stood outside waiting, because we still don't have a fence for our yard (city permits take forever to get down here in the south!).  After Schultz did his business, he started meandering around, sniffing.

"Schultz, come," my husband said.

Schultz didn't listen.  He wandered into the woods.

"Uh oh," my husband said.  "Come!"

Schultz still didn't listen.  Apparently he was on the trail of another deer.

"Schultz!" my husband bellowed.

And what do you think Schultz did next?  He ran!  Away from my husband to God only knows where.

It took thirty minutes for that beast to find his way back home.  And boy, was he in trouble. His Daddy yelled at him and stuck him in his crate for the rest of the day!   I don't think he'll be doing that again, any time soon. I hope.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dream Destination Blog Hop

It's time for Lexa and Julie's Dream Destination Blog Hop.  I'm supposed to tell you about my dream destination and then invite you over to Lexa or Julie's blog where a Rafflecopter is going on.  You can win one of nineteen prizes!

Where's my dream destination?  That's really a tough one.  There are so many interesting places to see in this world, that it's hard to choose just one.  I love Paris, because there's always something new to see or do.  And I really like Cozumel, Mexico for the SCUBA diving.  But I'm going to say my dream destination is Bora Bora.  Doesn't it look just heavenly?

So how about you?  What's your dream destination?

One more thing:  Yesterday, my son informed me that jellyfish are immortal, which is true.  Then he said lobsters were immortal.  So I had to look it up.  And guess what?  He was right!  Here's the article:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Immortal Jellyfish

"Mama," my nine-year-old son said.  "Did you know jellyfish are immortal?"

"What?" I couldn't believe it.  "Nothing is immortal."

"Jellyfish are.  I learned it in school."

"Yeah right," I said.

"But Mama, it's true!"

"Okay, I'm going to look this up."  So I did.  And guess what?  One kind of species of jellyfish is indeed "immortal."

If you want to get enlightened, here's the article.

(Now my son says lobsters are immortal.  I'm off to check this out, too!)   

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Good Old Days

One thing I've had my kids do every year since they could write, is create an Illustory book.  They come up with a story, illustrate it, and then mail it to a company which turns it into a hard-cover book. The kids like to reread them, looking back and see how their writing and drawings have improved, and seeing what exactly was on their minds each year.

Yesterday, my nine-year-old son found one of the books he had written when he was six.  He sat on the sofa and read through it.  After reading it, he became rather sentimental.  "Mama, this reminds me of when I was a kid."

"When you were a kid?" I asked.  "Aren't you still a kid?" 

"No," he replied. "When I was a kid, we lived in Cincinnati, and I had a lot of friends. It was fun back then. Now I'm grown up. Not so much fun.  I wish I could go back to the good old days."

(Hate to tell you, kid, you're still in the good old days.  Just you wait until you become a real grown-up!)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Face Painting

Yesterday my kids and I put up the Christmas tree.  It's a tradition that after we do so, we make a fancy cup of hot cocoa and drink it while listening to Christmas music and admiring the tree. 

I placed a steaming cup of hot cocoa in front of my nine-year-old son and told him that he could put the whipped cream and toppings on it.  He grabbed a can of Reddi Wip and sprayed a mountain of the white stuff on top.  Then he got the Hershey's chocolate sauce and squeezed about a third of the container onto the mountain he already created.

I looked at that boy and shook my head.  "Have a little hot cocoa with your toppings!"

"Mama," he said.  "This isn't all for the cocoa. Watch." He dipped his finger into it and spread the goop onto his face.  When he was done, he had a white mustache and beard (and a few sprinkles). "See.  I decorated my face for Christmas.  Now I'm Santa Claus!" 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Squeaky Ball Crisis

Our hundred pound German Shepherd's favorite toy is a rubber squeaky ball.  He runs around all day  with that thing in his mouth, squeaking away.  I find it incredibly annoying, but since the dog enjoys it so much, I let him play with it.

Well, the other day, Schultz broke the squeaker.

Good, I thought. Less noise!

Apparently Schultz did not share my sentiments. He ran around with the ball, dropped it, and stared at me, wondering what the heck was wrong with his toy.  He did the same thing with my husband.  When he didn't get a reaction from either of us, he shoved the ball in a corner and lay down on the ground, looking completely dejected.

My husband saw how sad the poor beast was. "We really should get him a new squeaky ball."

I looked at the dog.  "I suppose."

So that's what we did.  We went to the pet store and got Schultz a brand new squeaky ball.  Needless to say, when we presented the new toy, Schultz was delighted.

He grabbed that ball and resumed the noise making. And he's still doing it. Too bad it doesn't have an off switch!