Mama Diaries

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tic-Tac-Toe Champion

My son and I were passing the time, waiting for our meal at a restaurant, playing a game of tic-tac-toe. I am the unrefuted champion of said game. Try as they might, my kids cannot beat me.

We played three games, and each time I won. My son wasn't thrilled about that. So he tried a new tactic.

I drew an "O." Then he drew an "O" - with a smiley face inside.

I looked at him funny. "Dude, what are you doing? I'm "O," you're "X."

He grinned. "I'm trying to confuse you."

I shook my head and drew another "O" in the box.

He drew his smiley face.

I drew another "O" and connected three "O's" going diagonally across. It was my turn to grin. "Looks like you're the one who's confused!"

Friday, June 26, 2015


This morning, I opened the cupboard to pull out the container of oatmeal. That should have been an uneventful situation. But it wasn't.

As soon as I opened it, something fell out. A container of cocoa powder. Not just any container of cocoa powder, but one that had not been properly closed after the last use.

I bet you can't guess what happened.

My nice white socks were no longer white. My legs were covered in a fine brown powder. The floor was completely trashed.

"Kids!" I called. "Come here!"

They came. "Who was the last one to use the cocoa powder?"

My son looked at me. "Not me!"

My daughter looked at me. "Not me!"

I gave them one of my Mama glares. "I know it wasn't Schultz, Bootsy, or Dad. It was one of you. And I distinctly remember someone making brownies, yesterday."

I focused on my daughter.

"It wasn't me," she said. "It was my friend. She used the cocoa powder and put it back."

I sighed. Of course it was the friend. "Tell your friend to make sure all products are properly sealed, closed, and stacked, so this doesn't happen again!"

"Yes, Ma'am."

They scampered off, leaving me to clean up the mess. Oy gewalt!

On another note, I am very happy that my book, That Mama is a Grouch, won first place in the Family Matters Category of the 2015 Purple Dragonfly book awards. That makes me less grouchy! I know for many of you, this is going to be a shock, because I rarely post pictures,  but here's one of me with my book and certificate (taken after I washed off the cocoa powder):


Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Mama Aura

"Mom, come here," my teenage daughter said. "Put your hand over this white paper and stare at the tip of your middle finger until you see a color."

I thought that was an odd request, but I complied. Two seconds later, I did see a color. "It's purple," I said.

Her eyes got big. "Purple?"

"Yes. Now what does that mean?"

"It's your aura."

I've heard of auras - the energy that surrounds a person. And I've heard they can be different colors, but I had no idea you could actually see your own. "Seriously?" I said.

She nodded. "Do it again."

I did. Still purple.

So, I bet you're wondering what purple means. It means that I am intuitive, artistic, magical, psychic, wise, matriarchal, and full of female energies.  How's that for a Mama aura?

I don't know how much truth there is to all of that, but if you're curious about auras, you can visit this website to learn more. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Crab Rescue

Yesterday, when I went outside, I noticed a shell on the sidewalk in front of my house. I wondered what it was doing there. Upon closer inspection, I saw that there was a creature in that shell. A hermit crab. I had no idea what it was doing there, but I knew that it was going to be fried sitting on that hot concrete. (It's been at least 90 degrees Fahrenheit every day this week.)

So I rescued it. I moved it to a spot under a shady tree. Then I went in the house to find a shell. Shells make good water vessels. The crab definitely needed some water. I filled it with water and put it near the crab, which was still tightly curled in its shell. I wondered what else I could do to help it. I had the brilliant idea to cool it off with a little water sprinkle from the hose. It had to be roasting in that hot shell! That's what I did.

Then my daughter came outside. "Mom, what are you doing?"

"Rescuing a crab."

She gave me a funny look. "Did you remember you had dinner cooking on the stove?"

Oh, right. I almost forgot about that.

She stooped down and picked up the crab. "Mom, this thing is dead!"

"Is not!" I said.

"Yes, it is. And the house is going to burn down while you save a dead crab!"

(FYI:  The house is still standing, and the food did not burn. But the crab. He might be dead. He hasn't moved a bit. So, yes, I may have been trying to rescue a dead crab. Time will tell. If he falls out of his shell, we'll know for sure.)


Monday, June 22, 2015

Cooking Class

Yesterday, my ten year old son, Bubba, made his first cake. He also learned how to barbecue. Yours truly was the teacher.

I supervised as he measured and mixed the ingredients. The only thing I had to help with, was taking the cake out of the oven. He was so proud of that thing. His first cake - for his dad on Father's Day.

After the cake making class, it was time to go outside for the manly grilling lesson. I fired up the grill and waited for it to heat up.

"Dude," I said. "This is pretty hot stuff, so I'm going to do the flipping. You just watch to see how it's done."

When it was ready, I tossed the burgers on. Huge flames shot up every time one went on the grill.

"Mama, are you sure you know what you're doing?"

I nodded. "Of course. I've grilled plenty of times before."

He looked skeptical.

When it was time to flip the burgers, he was worried. "Should I get the fire extinguisher?"

"Nah," I said. "It'll be fine."

I opened the lid and flipped each of the burgers. You should've seen the flames coming out of that thing! That's when I noticed all the settings were on high. It was like 600 degrees Fahrenheit in there. I turned it down just a little.

"Looking good, Bubba," I said.

"Are you sure?" he asked.

"Yep." I took the burgers off the grill and shut it down.

We went inside to eat. Bubba tasted one. "This is delicious! Mama, you're pretty good at playing with fire!"

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Big Chase

Schultz, our hundred-pound German Shepherd is very proud of himself. He did a good job shepherding. At least that's what he thinks.

Yesterday evening, the dog was outside playing fetch with his tennis ball. Half-way through the game, he stopped. He turned his attention to the fenced-in retaining area that's surrounded by huge holly bushes at the edge of our property. He stood perfectly still, listening intently. Then he raised his paw, like he was pointing. (He actually does point. When he wants to play the flashlight game, he goes to the closet where the flashlight is, and points.)

"What is it, boy?" I asked.

He pointed again.

I knew there must be something in the retaining area. "Go get it!" I said.

He did.

You should've heard the commotion! I had no idea what could possibly be making that kind of raucous.

I found out soon enough.

Less than two minutes later, six very frightened deer burst out with Schultz in hot pursuit. He chased those deer half way down the street, until they were well out of our territory.

Then he trotted back, his long pink tongue flopping about, looking quite pleased with himself.

Before I go, I would like to thank Medeia Sharif for reviewing my new book, Ten Zany Birds, and featuring it on her blog. That was a great surprise! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Infectious Laughter

The other day, I took my husband (and kids) to a really nice restaurant to celebrate his birthday. It was one of those places with the lights down low, fancy tablecloths, and candles on the table. A place where one should behave in a civilized manner.

Apparently, my son didn't get the memo on that last part. He was overtired, and in a completely silly mood. The boy started laughing. Not just any old laugh - a fully belly laugh. Soon, he was laughing so hard, he was crying. I looked at my husband. He looked at me. Then he looked back at my son. Big mistake. The man had caught the laughing bug. Soon, he was crying, just like Bubba.

I looked at my daughter. She looked at me. Then I made the mistake of looking at my husband. I bet you can't guess what happened next. Yes. I started laughing, too. Soon, tears were rolling out of my eyeballs. I could barely breath.

I bet you're wondering if my daughter resisted the laughing bug. No. She caught it just after me. Soon all four of us were laughing uncontrollably.

This silliness lasted at least five minutes. 

When it finally stopped, I looked over at Bubba. "Dude, what were we laughing about?"

He shrugged. "I don't know!"

Monday, June 15, 2015

Breaking and Entering

Here's another story from my recent trip to Tennessee. The purpose of the trip was to see my mom for her birthday. We had rented a cabin (selected by my mom's husband) and had planned to spend time kayaking, hiking, and swimming (which we did). The place was in a secluded area - no wi-fi connections anywhere. I think the nearest store was about 40 minutes away.

As we drove down a narrow dirt and gravel road, my kids and I wondered what the heck we were getting ourselves into. Dilapidated shacks  that had to be at least seventy years old, rested at the edge of cliffs among fallen down trees. I strained my eyes trying to see the addresses.

Meanwhile, in the back seat, my daughter was complaining that she had to use the bathroom.

"Okay," I said. "Hang on. We're almost there." 

I found a few addresses and noticed they were going up in number. We had passed our destination. Somehow, I managed to turn around, and retraced our path. I couldn't see the addresses, but I took a wild guess as to which house it was. I pulled up the steep gravel driveway, hoping not to get a flat tire  or do other serious damage to my car.

"Okay, kids," I said. "You can get out now."

"Is this the place?" my daughter asked.

I shrugged. "I don't know. I didn't see an address, but I'm going to guess this is it."

We walked up some poorly made wooden steps.

"This looks like one of my really bad Minecraft houses," my son said.

"Um hmmm," I mumbled after stumbling on a step that had to be ten inches tall (after one that was four inches tall).

We got up to the front porch, which was more like a covered deck. I knocked on the sliding glass doors. Nobody was home. So I opened the doors.

"Mom!" my daughter said. "What are you doing? You don't even know if this is the right place!"

"Okay," I said. "You have a choice. Since you have to go to the bathroom, you can either find a bush, or use the bathroom here."

She chose the poorly constructed Minecraft bathroom. (The floors were slanted, so the toilet was actually tipped to the side. I kid you not!)

While she was in the bathroom, I wandered around and found my Mom's stuff. I knew we were in the right place.

So ladies and gentlemen, that's the story of me breaking and entering, and of the first class accommodations we had on our adventure to Tennessee.


Friday, June 12, 2015

A Little Bit Lost

My kids and I went on vacation to Tennessee. We ended up going through a very secluded area in the mountains where road signs were pretty much non-existent. When situations like that arise, I rely on my Garmin. That's not always a good idea. Garmins are easily confused.

When my Garmin insisted that I go down a dead-end road, I knew we were lost. So what did I do? What any other female would do:  I asked for directions.  Except the only person I found was an old dude standing next to his John Deere tractor on the side of the road.

I rolled down my window. "Excuse me, sir. Can you tell me how to get to 135 North?"

He studied me for two seconds, and then started talking in his Tennessee drawl. "Well, it ain't down that way. That there is a dead end road."

"Yeah," I said. "I already figured that out." I pointed to my Garmin. "Stupid here thought that was the way to go." "(Yes, I named my Garmin, "Stupid.")

"You have to go to the truck stop," he said. "Do you know where that is?"

I shook my head. "No, sir. I'm not from around here."

"You're visiting?"

"Yes, sir."

"How long?"

"Three days."

"Maybe I can take you for a motorcycle ride."


"Uh, no thanks. I just want to get to my destination."

After a lot of listening to him talk about left turns and right turns and fourth traffic lights, I decided the dude with the tractor was not the best person to get directions from. I thanked him for his time.

"If you want that motorcycle ride, just let me know," he said as I pulled away.

Uh huh.

(Meanwhile, in the back seat of my car, my kids were listening to the whole thing. "Mom," my daughter said after we had gotten away from that guy. "That was dangerous! You shouldn't talk to strangers!" She might have a point!)

Now, for those of you who like pictures, here's a picture of one of the places I visited:  Burgess Falls.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Dog vs Truck

It's summer vacation, and the, "Mom, I'm bored," comment has already surfaced.

When Bubba said it, I said, "Find something to do!"

He did. It involved a remote-control truck and a very large German Shepherd.

I walked into the kitchen and nearly tripped over a miniature monster truck with huge rubber wheels. It was in pursuit of a four-legged canine named Schultz. Schultz was clearly not happy about having his afternoon nap disturbed. He went to all of his favorite spots, but was chased of by the truck.

Bubba thought that was great fun. Until Schultz decided to do something about it. When that motorized vehicle approached the furry beast and bumped into his nose, Schultz took action. He jumped up, grabbed that thing in his enormous mouth, and ran off.

Fortunately, Schultz was very gentle, so the truck wasn't damaged,  but that was the end of Bubba's little game!

Before I go, I would like to thank Diana Jenkins for featuring my new book, Ten Zany Birds, on her blog. It was a wonderful, unexpected surprise!

(I also want to say, that I'm sorry I've been sporadic about posting. Between vacations, the kids being home, and all the stuff I'm trying to do, it's been really rough for me to be online to blog. Hopefully things will settle down in a while, and I'll be more regular.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Snack Binge

Tomorrow Bubba, my ten-year-old son, gets braces. And you know what that means. No more popcorn, gum, caramel, or gummy worms! The boy is not pleased.

"Mama," he said.  "Can we go to the store?"

"What for?" I asked.

"So I can get a box of popcorn . . .  and potato chips, and gummy worms."

"Bubba, you're not going to binge on snacks. I'll make you some popcorn, but if you eat all that other stuff, you'll gain ten pounds in one day!"

He shrugged. "But I'll have two years to lose it."


Before I go, I would like to give a huge thanks to Janie Junebug, for featuring Ten Zany Birds on her blog, Tracy, for featuring That Mama is a Grouch on her blog, and Medeia and Deanie for their reviews of Ten Zany Birds! You guys rock!

Also, I found out that there was a problem with the Kindle version of Ten Zany Birds, where the text did not appear in the conversion. It looked like a wordless picture book. It's been fixed. If you purchased the Kindle version, and did not receive the update, please let me know and I'll send a PDF. (The hard copy is fine.)