Showing posts from July, 2010

Letting go of the June gene

Scientists haven’t discovered this one yet, but I’d bet it’s only because no one has taken the time to really look for it. I think it should be called the June gene, and it’s the part of a woman and mother’s DNA that makes us instinctively driven to be June Cleaver. Not many young mothers of today actually watched June Cleaver—we grew up with Growing Pains and Family Ties to name just a few. But the essence of June is timeless. She was the picture perfect mother and housewife. The woman wore an apron and high heels on a daily basis, for Pete’s sake. Her hair was perfectly coiffed and if there was ever a scene without her wearing a pearl necklace, I’ll run out and kiss Eddie Haskell straight on the lips. We all know that image of the picture perfect woman only appears on TV, but I for one have this inner desire to be that put together. I’ll pass on the high heels, but just to imagine a house so spotless and a pot roast coming out of the oven every day at 5:30 nearly makes me swoon

A recipe for roughing it

For many years, since the invention of fire, people have been flocking to the great out-of-doors and returning to our native roots. Granted, those first fire-makers were probably making campfires outside because they weren’t smart enough to invent ventilation systems, but I bet even if they had, they’d still occasionally pack up everything they own, throw it on their Flintstone wheel-mobile, drive an hour, and argue for hours over the flattest spot of ground. Because despite it all, people love camping. I did not grow up a campground-type camper, and by the time I could make the decision myself, I chose to go full bore, outpost wilderness camping. The kind without the amenities, if you will, unless you call sanitizing puddle water to drink and cooking your dinner of dehydrated foods over a fire built from cow dung “the cushy life.” (True stories, both of them. Don’t tell my mother.) But there remains a natural draw to the outdoors, whether you choose to be alone in the wild with no

The Unhappy Meal letter

Dear mega-giant fast food chains, Because I so often frequent your restaurants, there’s something I thought I would bring to your attention that has obviously been blinded by years of grease buildup and ketchup stains. While I adore the kid’s meal idea more than the fruit-instead-of-fries option, a major flaw has developed over time and I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know just how I feel. I’m not the kind of mom who eats fast food out of laziness; I’d much rather eat a homemade meal. Instead, I’m the kind of mom who finds herself toting children and running errands all around the state on a regular basis, most of the time running late and yelling “hurry up!” until I’m blue in the face. Sure, my car is well stocked with snacks, but sometimes a kid (and a mom) just has to eat something substantial. Unfortunately, we’re a traveling band rivaling the gypsies I’m always threatening to sell my children to, and I can order a Happy Meal better than anyone else I know out of sheer practi

Staying cool on hot summer nights

You’ve hear the one about how, if you don’t like the weather in Ohio, wait a day and it will change? Or the one about “you know you’re from Ohio if you use the heat and the air-conditioning in the same day?” And even more, someone will say both of these old jokes in the same breath as saying, “there’s nothing like an Ohio summer,” and then in the next breath start whining about the humidity. If there’s one thing we Ohioans can handle, it’s a change in weather. We’re trained at an early age to adjust to the elements. From our youngest days in the back seat, we watch our parents pull out contraptions for every season. From under the bottomless front seat I have seen my own mother pull out, on the same day, umbrellas, sun block, ice scraper and I’m pretty sure there was 25 pounds of rock salt in there too. Now, in the midst of the heat of summer, the thought of shoveling off our cars is so distant, it’s like a fading memory, a mirage within a desert of humidity with air so thick you c

Rock Blocks beat the heat, make mama happy

Probably another adventure to file under "supposed to be for the kids, but mom ends up doing it anyway," but that's really OK. I just about love this idea. Everyone has painted rocks. I myself have painted more rocks than most people, but it seems that every time I do it, I raise the bar. Of course, I can remember one of my earliest rock-painting experiences-- painting porous gravel with some white paint that I swear was wall primer. But I loved 'em. These, however, are much better, and make for a great activity, both while you make them and after you're done. To make your own rock blocks, you need a pack of rocks. Sure you can collect them if you're lucky enough to live in an area of polished and smooth non-sedimentary rocks. Or, for a whopping $2, you can get a bag at a craft store. I suggest the craft store, because the rocks will be mostly similar in size and also conveniently located in the same place as the other materials you will need: OUTDOOR p

The Fourth of July is first in my book

As most families do, we enjoy holidays. But every family has their holiday. My neighbor now has an Easter egg hunt with little plastic eggs by the hundreds (literally) so much that come June they are still finding them. My in-laws rival that egg number with their Christmas trees, it seems. There is one in every room on every level and in every corner. Growing up, there was a family in my neighborhood that loved Halloween so much that I swear they re-landscaped their yard just so that the dad could put on a scary mask and jump out of some bush and scare the daylights out of us. But us, we love the Fourth of July. I look forward to it every year and have for as long as I can remember, counting down the days until the fireworks flew. My love for this holiday is genetic or inherited, and I am so proud that my own family has the Fever of the Fourth and totally agree with my adoration for the mid-summer festival. My husband wasn’t hard to convince. He quickly learned that the #1 best thing a