Mama Diaries

Friday, August 29, 2014

Versatile Blogger Award

 Kristen Smith nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thank you so much, Kristen!

I have received this award many times, and shared things about me.  This time I'm going to do something a little different.  I'm going to share some things on my bucket list.  Here's what I want to do, that I haven't yet done:

1.  Sky dive.  (I almost did it this summer, but the weather wasn't so good.  I didn't think it would be a great idea to jump out of an airplane in the middle of a thunderstorm!)

2.  Zip-line (ideally through a Costa Rican rain forest.)

3.  Go white water rafting.

4.  Dive the Great Barrier Reef.  (Can you believe I haven't done that?)

5.  Set foot on all the continents.

6.  Visit all fifty states.

7.  Learn to speak French fluently.  (I can read a fair amount, but I'm really pathetic when it comes to speaking it!)

8.  Watch a shuttle launch.

9.  Learn to tango.  (I like to dance.  Trouble is, I don't have a partner to dance with.  Any volunteers?)

10.  Ride a Gondola in Venice, Italy.

11.  Ride an elephant. (I don't know why, but this seems like a cool thing to do.)

12.  Go on an African Safari.

13.  Visit Machu Picchu.

14.  Tour the White House.

15.  Take a helicopter ride over Kauai.

16.   See a performance at the Sydney Opera House.

17.  Hold a  Koala bear.

18.  Visit Area 51 and see if there are really aliens there.

19.  Visit Mount Rushmore.

20.  Tour the Neuschwanstein Castle.

I'm not tagging anyone, because I'm obviously not following any rules on this game.  I think you're supposed to list 15 things about yourself, and then tag 15 people to do the same.  If you want to do that, go ahead.  Or if you want to do my version, feel free.

What's on your bucket list?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Little Night Fun

Last night, there were a lot of kids over at my house.  Everybody seemed to be getting along just fine, so I went about my business doing whatever it is I do.

A short while later, I heard screaming. And it seemed to be coming from outside.  I had to investigate.  What I found was a bunch of kids and a dog chasing a beam of light around the yard.

It was the flashlight game. Five kids and a very large German Shepherd (Schultz)  were bumping into each other, in a crazed frenzy, trying to catch this light.

I shook my head and watched.

Ten minutes later, and completely exhausted, they all marched into the house.

"I supposed you all want a bowl of water now," I said.

Six panting creatures with their tongues sticking out looked at me expectantly.

So I put out five soup bowls and one very large dog bowl filled with water and let them slurp it up.

(Fortunately, it was only Schultz who dribbled the water onto the floor.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Conversation with a Frog

The other day, I took my daughter to a new frozen yogurt place.  In front of the store, was a person in a frog costume. (The name of the place has something to do with a frog.)  Since I'm a little crazy, I struck up a conversation with this individual.  Here's how it went:

Me:  "It's like 95 degrees out here.  You must be roasting!"

Frog:  *Big nod*  (I was surprised his head didn't fall off.)

Me:  "You should really go inside and cool off.  A little frozen yogurt might be nice, too."

Frog:  *Another nod.  Then a shrug.*

Me:  "I'm going to get myself some ."

Frog:  *Thumbs up sign*

I went inside and got two cups of frozen yogurt - one for me and one for my daughter.

I came back out and resumed my conversation.

Me:  "See, you're doing such a good job of advertising, that I got some.  It's good!"

Frog:  *Claps hands*

Me:  "Do you want some?"

Frog:  *Shakes head*

Me:  "Okay.  See ya.  Have a nice day!"

Frog:  *Waves bye*

Meanwhile, my daughter was trying to hide, because of course I was embarrassing her.

"Mom," she said when I was done.  "Didn't your mom ever tell you not to talk to strangers?"

I nodded.  "Yes.  But she didn't say anything about frogs!"


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Moose Fat

"Mama," my ten-year-old son said. "Did you know moose fat makes things taste better?"

I nearly choked on my roast beef sandwich when I heard that news.  "No, Bubba.  I had no idea."

"It's true.  There's a Canadian Survival show that says if you add moose fat to anything, it'll taste better."

"Does it work on Brussels sprouts?" I asked.

Bubba shrugged.  "Probably."  He paused for a second and then added, "You should add it to your recipes.  I bet it would make the food you cook taste much better."

Uh.  Okay.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Preposition Rap

Something a little different, today.  Since my brain is fried from lack of sleep, I'm going to give you all a taste of what my daughter does in school.  She raps.  Yep.  And not just any kind of rapping.  Prepositional rapping.  Her assignment was to create a rap using prepositions.  Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

(Yeah.  Isn't that great?  Except, isn't "is" a verb?)

So for the last two days, I've been listening to rap music as my daughter has been trying to complete her assignment.  No wonder I haven't been sleeping well!

Before I go back to sleep for the next two days, I want to share some illustrations from my upcoming picture book, Ten Zany Birds.  They're done by talented water-color illustrator, Charu Jain.

And here are the ten zany birds:

Which is your favorite?  (I like the green one the best.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Klutz Alarm

I don't function very well at 5:00 in the morning.  This morning was a particularly bad start.  By 5:13 AM, I had broken a bowl, spilled yogurt all over my kitchen floor, dropped two spoons, and caused a bottle of Coke to fall out of my refrigerator on to the floor. (I made a mental note not to open that bottle.  But of course by 5:00 tomorrow morning, I will have forgotten my mental note.)

Being completely discombobulated, I neglected to awaken my son at the appropriate time.  Fortunately, the breaking and dropping of things was enough of a commotion to awaken him from his deep slumber.

He came downstairs, rubbing his eyes. "Mama, why didn't you come and wake me up?"

"Bubba, I don't think I need to.  You're already up."

He stared at me on my hands and knees, cleaning up the last of the yogurt.  "Yeah," he said.  "You're right.  The klutz alarm went off!"

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Foot and the Dog

I came home last night from teaching, and saw something very strange.  My daughter was holding a jar of peanut butter in one hand, and a spoon loaded with the nutty stuff in the other. The spoon was being licked by none other than our hundred pound German Shepherd, Schultz.

"What's going on here?" I asked.  I couldn't believe he was being fed peanut butter right out of the jar.

"Schultz got hurt, and I'm trying to make him feel better," my daughter said.

"Exactly what happened?" I asked.  I had a feeling this was going to be good.

"Bubba (my son) was stomping around the house, not paying attention.  Schultz was lying down in the stair landing in the dark, having a nap,  and Bubba stomped on him. Poor Schultzy yiped really loud!"

I could just imagine.  

My daughter continued. "So we gave Schultzy lots of ice cubes and peanut butter, so he knows we still love him."

I'm happy to report that Schultz has suffered no lasting effects from his meeting with Bubba's foot.  Let's hope it doesn't happen, again, because I don't want to have to keep buying new jars of peanut butter!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fashionable Mama

I was attempting to clean my teenage daughter's room this morning, when I noticed a familiar-looking sun dress on the floor.  I went over and picked it up.  Isn't this mine? I thought.  Then I saw a sweater on the ground.  It looked familiar, too.  What's going on, here?

I went downstairs and asked my daughter how my articles of clothing ended up on her floor.

"I went through your closet and found some things I want to wear for school," she explained.  "I have another of your sun dresses, too.  I'm wearing it tomorrow."

Oh.  "Okay," I said.  "But I thought you didn't like my style."

She shrugged.  "It's okay. Sometimes.  And besides, the dresses fit me."

I see.  So maybe Mama is fashionable after all!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Underdeveloped Brain

Last night, I was helping my ten-year-old son with his homework.  He had math problems to solve.  Afterwards, he had to locate the answers in a number find (similar to those word find games).

For some reason, he was having difficulty locating the numbers.  I showed him how to do a search pattern, but he was still stumped on quite a few of them.  "I need help, Mama!"

I looked over his shoulder.  "Which ones can't you find?"

He pointed to the numbers.

I found them very easily.  "If I was able to find these in less than three seconds, why weren't you able to find them?" I asked.

He looked at me very seriously and said, "Because I'm a kid.  And I have an underdeveloped brain."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Embarrassing Mama

It is my job to embarrass my kids as much as possible.  My teenage daughter has informed me that I am an expert.  Most of the time, I embarrass them by just being myself, which according to my daughter, is weird.  Yesterday, I embarrassed her by chewing my food too many times.  Never mind that it was just me and my kids at the dinner table.  (And why was she watching me chew a piece of food?  Isn't that weird?)

The real winner was when I went into school to meet her teacher.  Being the somewhat friendly person that I am, I struck up a conversation with her.  The teacher asked me questions, and I answered in complete sentences.  That apparently was not a cool thing to do.

"Mom, why did you have to answer like that?  You could've just given a one word answer, or said, 'yes' or 'no.'"

"But I always answer in complete sentences," I replied.  "What's wrong with that?"

"It's so embarrassing!"

Uh.  Like.  Okay.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

How to Repopulate the World with Dinosaurs

I know you're all sitting on the edge of your chairs for this one.  Try not to fall off when I tell you how to have your very own pet dinosaur.

On the walk back from the school bus yesterday, I had a very enlightening conversation with my ten-year-old son.  He and his buddy wish to repopulate the world with dinosaurs.

"Mama, I know how to create dinosaurs using chicken eggs and DNA."

I looked at that kid.  "Really?  How?"

"First you get some dinosaur DNA."

I wrinkled my brows.  "How exactly are you going to get dinosaur DNA?  Dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years."

"It's easy, Mama.  You find a dinosaur tooth or a dinosaur egg, and you extract it."

Okay. Never mind that those things are fossilized rocks now.

"Then what do you do?" I asked.

"Then you extract the chicken DNA from the egg and replace it with the dinosaur's"

"Sounds so simple," I said.  "And you can do that without breaking the egg?"

"Yes, Mama.  Scientist do it all the time."

"Extract chicken DNA and replace it with dinosaur DNA?"

"No.  They extract and insert chicken DNA to modify chickens."


So ladies and gentlemen, if you look out the window and see a triceratops pruning the trees in your backyard, you know who to thank.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cold Shower

This morning, at the crack of dawn, I dragged my son to the bus stop.  It was his first day back after summer break.  None of us were too pleased to be standing there in the dark. (Yes, the bus comes before the sun rises, which in my opinion, is absolutely ridiculous!)

We stood, patiently waiting.  But then something happened.  We heard a swish sound, and a nano second later, the sprinkler system at the entrance of our neighborhood came on, dousing us with cold water.

"What the heck!" I said, quickly dodging the sprinkler before I got even wetter.

Bubba, who wasn't nearly as wet as me, laughed.  "It's your morning shower, Mama!  Now you can start your day, clean and shiny!"


Monday, August 11, 2014

Zoo Creatures

"Mom, can I have a sleepover?" my daughter asked.

"Sure," I said.  I figured it would be just one friend.  No problem.

It wasn't just one friend.  It was an army.  I looked at the crowd of girls and my jaw almost fell on the floor.  "You're all sleeping over?" I asked.

They nodded.


I quickly went into the kitchen to make sure I had enough food for such a crowd.  I did.  Fortunately I had a taco kit in the cupboard and some ground beef in the refrigerator.  I started cooking.

The girls went up to my daughter's room to do whatever teenagers do.

When the tacos were done, I called them down.

I don't know exactly what happened upstairs, but all I know, is that I didn't recognize the creatures that came downstairs.  Several had face masks on. (Think mud masks and creams slopped on.)  Others had mascara lines painted on their faces.  And I don't even know what to say about what they did to their hair.

"Uh, okay," I said.   "I hope you're having fun."

They sat down to eat.

Shortly after, my son, Bubba, came into the room.  He had a box on his head. It was his thinking cap (see previous post for that story).

He sat down, because he wanted a taco.

So, around my table I had a bunch of zoo creatures:  some with masks, some with painted faces, and one with a box on his head.

A pretty typical day in the life of the Mama!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Vampire Test

It's official.  I'm a vampire.

 I've always suspected I might be, since I have very pale skin and dark hair.  And I'm always cold.  My hands are like ice.  (When I used to Scuba dive in Cozumel, the dive masters had a great nickname for me:  "La Vampira."  They suspected I was a vampire, too.)

Anyway, my daughter came up behind me and shoved an onion in my face.  I backed away from that thing quickly.

"You failed, Mom!" she said.

"Failed what?" I asked.

"The onion test.  Vampires are afraid of onions, and you are clearly afraid of onions.  Which makes you a vampire!"

Okay. There you have it.  The indisputable evidence has proven that I am a vampire.  Maybe I should go find a coffin to sleep in, now!


Friday, August 8, 2014

A Little Drizzle

Last night, I made rigatoni for my family.  I boiled the noodles, and was about to warm up some leftover marinara sauce when my husband came into the room.  He stood next to me and watched me do my thing. I was about to put the noodles back, and add the sauce, warming them together.

"Woman, you know you could put the noodles in a bowl while you warm up the sauce in this pot, don't you?"

I looked at him.  "Why can't I do it like this?  This is how I've done it for twenty years."

"Because it's better to warm the sauce separately.  Just add a drizzle of olive oil to the noodles so they don't stick."

Fine.  I grabbed a bottle of olive oil and poured some into the bowl with the rigatoni noodles.

My husband shook his head.  "Woman, that's not a drizzle.  That's a drench!  You poured half the bottle in there!"

"Well, at least they won't stick!" I retorted.

My husband laughed.  "What am I going to do with you?  You'd better just stick to baking, because boiling water and preparing pasta is definitely not one of your strong points!"

Right.  Next time I'm doing it my way!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Towel Twist

There was another water balloon fight at my pad.  And this time the kids made a huge mess all over the kitchen floor.  When I walked in on their water balloon filling operation, my jaw dropped to the ground.  "What's going on here?"

"We're filling water balloons," one of the neighborhood kids said.

"Yes, I can see that.  But it looks like you're creating a small pond on the floor!"

The kid looked down.  "Oops.  Sorry about that, Mrs. Ellis!"

I promptly went upstairs and got a handful of towels.  I brought them downstairs and distributed them to the kids.  "Please dry up the lake!" I said.

They obliged.  But their way of doing it was very interesting.  Did any of them get down on their hands and knees to dry it up?  No.  They put the towels under their feet and started dancing.  It looked like the towel twist!

When they were done, they handed me the wet towels.  "That was fun, Mrs. Ellis.  Can we do it, again?" one kid asked.

Uh.  No!

Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Stop Eating Cake

As most of you know, there have been a lot of birthday parties at my pad.  Which means a lot of cake.  Cake is good.  But too much isn't.  My family and I have clearly had too much.  So we have devised a great plan to stop eating cake.  It goes like this:

Step 1:  Get lots of goopy frosting  on the bottom of the lid that covers the cake.  (If you have your cake in a box, get lots of goopy frosting and use it to seal the box.)

Step 2:  Cover the cake and press firmly on the lid to ensure the goopy frosting has sealed the lid to the cake dish.

Step 3:  Allow goopy frosting to dry overnight.

Step 4:  Test the next day, by attempting to lift the lid off the cake dish.  If you've done a good job, the lid will remain firmly fastened.  If not, repeat steps 1 - 3.

Step 5:  Allow cake to sit under the lid for at least one week.  By that time, it should become a completely disgusting, unappetizing blob of sugar and bacteria, that nobody in their right mind would want to ingest.

And there you have it.  After this fantastic process, you will not want to eat another piece of cake for the rest of your life.

(Your welcome!)

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Present for the Mama

"Mama," my ten-year-old son said this morning. "Happy Birthday!"

"Why thank you," I said.  "Nice of you to remember!"

"I have something for you," he announced.

"Really?"  I asked.  "What is it?"

"A masterpiece."  Bubba presented me this lovely picture:


"It's a portrait of you, Mama!"

"It's beautiful," I said.  "I'm going to frame it and put it in the Louvre next to the Mona Lisa!"

Then my daughter came in and modified it (with Bubba's permission), so that now looks like this:

(If you look very closely, you can see that the face in the portrait is wearing contacts, just like me.)

Aren't my kids talented?

Now I'm going to go eat this cake that my daughter made:

And then I'm going to eat the one my husband is making.

And then I'm going to stop eating cake, and go on a diet!