Showing posts from October, 2013

Stop and sniff the mushrooms

Yesterday I took a hike with my children.  We were in search of some of the lesser-known waterfalls that grace our nearest national park, more specifically a certain set of falls that I remember from my teenage years when our idea of a good night out was coming home covered in mud, creek water, and mosquito bites.  (I wasn’t quite your average teen.) The problem was that we had to venture past the sign that said “end of trail,” which now, as a parent, takes on a different meaning then when you’re a wild kid.  “End of trail” as a child fills you with rambunctious spirit.  “End of trail” as a mother fills you with worry and fear that danger and certain death loom just past the sign.  But there are things you learn when you’re on the trail, deep in the sweet old woods of northeastern Ohio.  Life lessons that can’t be found just anywhere.   There is also a totally awesome waterfall, as memory served. And so we pressed on. There are two ways to proceed on a trail when you ha

Three little birds at the store

Normally I like to feed my family healthy, fresh food.  In the summer when local produce is bountiful and beautiful, there is nothing better that the smell of a red, ripe tomato so fresh off the vine and into the store and then onto our plates.  And with the unstructured schedule of summer break, there is actual time in the day to prepare gorgeous salads that require tedious chopping and an abundance of ingredients. I love all of that.  The food, the time, the preparation, and most of all, I love the eating. In my dreamland, it would happen every single day.  We would saunter up to the market and handpick the greenest of beans and the reddest of watermelons.  Each child would have a nutritious recipe to prepare and a smile on his or her face as they watched their food take shape from the beginning to the very end, where they would all devour their creations. But that’s dreamland, in the reality that is having my three lovely children home with me every day during the summer, it

You make your own bed…maybe

I had a friend in high school that swore that you never needed to wash two things: bath towels and bed sheets.  His logic was decent.  “Think about it.  You take a shower, you’re clean.  And you dry yourself off with just water, and water isn’t dirty so you never need to wash your towels.  And then if you shower just before you go to bed, you always go to bed clean so your sheets never get dirty either.” (He’s still not married, that I know of.) I always appreciated his logic but knew there was no merit to it.  But it didn’t stop there.  “You never really have to make your bed.  Just pile up the blankets at the bottom so it looks neat enough, and just recover yourself at night.”   This was logic I could appreciate.  I hate making the bed.  It is the most worthless chore I have ever encountered, and I have encountered quite a few.   I know it doesn’t take long, and my husband assures me he appreciates getting into a neatly made bed at night.  I can’t see the value in it, but t

Bring on the bathroom horns

I have kids.  I work with kids.  And keeping those factors in mind, there is a very good chance that at any given moment, some sort of dried up food or bodily fluid is going to present on their hands.  These mystery substances are the little beauties that carry germs that make us sick and when you run as fast as I do, we just don’t have time for that sort of stuff. It then follows that we are ardent hand washers.  Like, big time. Come home from somewhere?  Wash your hands.  Eating?  Wash your hands.  Bathroom?  In a public place?  Wash your hands and don’t touch the doorknob on the way out.   Call me a germaphobe, but some things are just good, solid personal hygiene.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.   One recent morning I was listening to the morning news and they announced a study done by Michigan State that reported that 95% of people don’t correctly wash their hands.  95%.  That’s a lot of dried up yuck on doorknobs. “That’s ludicrous,” I said outloud, as I lathe

Watery mustard, exploding hotdogs, and brain freezes

Summer catastrophes are something special.  I think we all tend to be a bit more adventurous during the warmer months and I personally have a constant supply of bandages with me at all times.   Because when the fun gets a little too far out of hand, I want to be ready.  Or, if at all possible, if I know what the dangers are, I like to stop them before they even happen. Take, for example, three of the biggest summer catastrophes.  They are, in no particular order: runny mustard, exploding hotdogs, and the all-painful and excruciating brain freeze.  From soggy buns to wanting to smash your head against the wall, these misfortunes have happened to the best of us.  But that’s where the little bit of extra knowledge comes in.  We just need to be prepared. Runny mustard.  We’ve all been there, with a freshly grilled burger in our hand when we flip the mustard over and squeeze out…a river of unwanted water.  Groans can be heard from backyards across the state, but it need not be that