We sometimes have an odd way that we clean our kitchen floor. We turn it into an ice skating rink, except instead of ice, we cover it with water and instead of skates, we use paper towels. Yes, paper towels!
I pour a bunch of water all over the floor, wrap the kids’ feet in paper towels and let them slide around the room until the floor is (mostly) clean and (mostly) dry.
We don’t do this often because it tends to end in someone wiping out or getting out of the designated “skating area” and soaking the adjoining hardwood. Plus, the scooting usually causes the paper towels to rip pretty quickly so we end up going through multiple rolls! But when I DO let them do it, it’s always a lot of fun. Until the tears and/or yelling begin.
When Viva Vantage asked me to try out their paper towels, I thought I’d give it the floor skating test. The boys were already asleep so I did the test myself. No wonder the kids laugh so loud – skating around the kitchen was quite entertaining (and I didn’t even fall)! And the best part – I didn’t have to keep rewrapping my feet because the paper towels stretch, so they didn’t rip!! I only went through a small part of one roll during my test. Score! Speaking of score, maybe I should give them hockey sticks next time they skate the floor clean. Or maybe not.
While I was “skating,” I had a bright idea. I need a fun, cute yet simple treat idea for Eric’s football team. The texture of the paper towels reminded me of a football so I decided to really put their stretchiness and durability to another test by making them into candy pouches!
Now I’m not a super crafty person, so they aren’t fancy! I’m pretty good at the ideas, but I’m too impatient during the execution.
1. Draw a football outline just slightly smaller than one sheet of the Viva Vantage select-a-size roll. (A template would make it a more precise football shape, but – you know – impatience.)
2. Paint the opposite side of the paper towel. (You’ll notice I didn’t do that and realized the paint was covering my outline. I had to cut out the football and then paint it, which was harder than painting the uncut paper towel.)
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for a second football.
4. Once the paint dries, add white out tape “stitches” to both footballs.
5. Use double sided tape or glue around the inside edge of the two footballs to attach them together, leaving one end open. (You may need to trim the edge if the two footballs don’t line up exactly when you tape them together.)
The night before I took Jimmy to college, I couldn’t sleep a wink. When I couldn’t stand another second of tossing and turning, I got up and wrote him a letter. I didn’t initially plan to post it, but here it is.
As I searched for a wrestling photo to include with this post, it brought more tears. I have such wonderful memories of Jimmy’s wrestling tournaments and will miss them greatly. Not just watching him wrestle, but the many hours we spent traveling together. Often it was just the two of us driving to the off season tournaments. Those trips brought us closer together and I wouldn’t trade that time for the world. My love of wrestling definitely extends way beyond the mat. And after reading this letter, hopefully Jimmy understands why.
I’m preparing myself to take you to college in a few hours. Those words sound so surreal, but they are all too real. When I came to your room to say goodnight to you earlier, there were so many things I wanted to say about the thoughts swirling in my head, the memories I was having, the advice I wanted to give… But my mouth must have been directly connected to my tear ducts, because every time I opened it, the waterworks started flowing and the words just wouldn’t come.
It’s probably just as well, because words couldn’t do justice to the emotions I was/am feeling. And I think as we sat there in silence, we knew what the other was thinking.
There are some things I feel I must say to you though as you venture out of the nest. So I will let the written words be my voice.
One day before you started high school, someone convinced you to go to a wrestling practice. I truly feel that that day had a big influence on the course of all your high school days…and will have impact way beyond. You instantly fell in love with the sport and your dedication and perseverance throughout the next four years was nothing short of amazing.
You came home at the beginning of wrestling season Freshman year and announced that you were going to go to the state tournament before you graduated. You never wavered from that proclamation, no matter what life threw at you.
Freshman year, when you competed against opponents 20 pounds heavier and several years older than you. You said it made you stronger.
Off season Freshman year, when you wrestled hard core opponents who, many times, tossed you around the mat like a kitten with a ball of yarn. You always walked off talking about what you learned.
Summer after Freshman year, when you attended 14 days of the hardest wrestling camp in the country. You wanted to compete against the best.
Sophomore year, when you injured your shoulder. You worked your tail off at physical therapy to get cleared in time to wrestle in the district tournament…only to break your hand 5 days later. You never let it break your spirit.
Before Junior year, when you flew across country to attend the 28 day camp where you didn’t know a single soul. That took a lot of balls, as you would say.
Junior year, when you broke your nose during the district finals. You still advanced to the regional tournament but had to wear that lovely Hannibal Lector-esque mask. The mask was good for your nose, but bad for your vision. With limited peripheral view, the state tournament was not in the cards for you that year.
That was the tournament when YOU taught ME a lesson.
I had always prided myself on being a “try your best and have fun” Mom instead of a “be the best and win, win, win” one. As the state qualifiers stood on the coveted podium, I sat with my arms crossed, fuming and pouting. On that podium stood 2 wrestlers who had LOST to you before your injury. All I could think was how unfair it was. But after the ceremony I looked down and saw you sitting in a circle with some of your teammates AND the 2 wrestlers who were going to states instead of you. You were congratulating them and chatting and laughing. You were having fun. And you tried your best. You were doing what I had spouted at you for years. But I wasn’t.
I learned from you that day how to be a good sport. Sometimes the teacher is the student.
After the tournament I told you I was sorry you didn’t make it to states and you responded “It’s ok. I’m glad Connor made it because he’s a senior. I still have next year.”
Ah, next year.
“Next year” proved to be the worst of them all.
Senior year rolled around and with only a month until wrestling season, you got mono. Not just your run-of-the-mill mono, but the worst case your doctor had seen. Wrestling was completely out of the question. One wrong take-down would have taken OUT your enlarged spleen. And just getting out of bed most days was out of the question. After 9 WEEKS of misery, you were finally cleared to return to normal activity, but you were very weak from being sick. Most people would have thought trying to wrestle after months of being too ill to function was hopeless. But you didn’t. You worked so incredibly hard to gain back your strength and get back on the mat.
Unfortunately what we found out the hard way during your first match back was that you had developed viral induced asthma. You were so sick for so long that your airway was a mess. It was pretty scary – terrifying actually - watching you gasping for air before you slumped down against the wall next to the mat. I’m pretty sure you passed out for a short time. Each match you wrestled brought the same results – getting too winded or having any pressure on your chest would send your airway into a fit. But you went out there time and time again.
This was supposed to be your season to shine, but you were barely glimmering. After a difficult loss at a home meet, you were beyond frustrated. It was the first and only time I’ve ever heard you say you hate wrestling. You were still trying your best, but you weren’t having fun that day. The next day though you were right back out on the mat, remembering what you loved about the sport.
Right before the district tournament, you finally got a break (and NOT a bone this time). The asthma attacks went away. You were back and on fire. You beat some tough competition at districts to advance to regionals.
When the big day arrived for Regionals, you were feeling (mostly) like your old self again and ready to rumble. Qualifying for states was so close you could taste it. Unfortunately the cards were not only stacked against you again, they may as well have been stacked ON you.
I remember that second match so clearly. When your opponent grabbed your arm, your elbow turned ways an elbow should never turn. Your scream could be heard throughout the entire noisy gym and you dropped to the floor, writhing in pain. My heart raced as I watched you in so much pain and it sank when I saw the trainer mouth to your coach “He’s done. I’m going to call it.” But then we all heard another scream. It was you yelling “NO!” and jumping to your feet. You wouldn’t let the trainer forfeit the match. I got chills (and a bit of a panic attack). You finished the bout with one functional arm. And won.
I don’t know if you have any idea what the reaction in the stands was that day. Everyone was in complete awe of your drive and determination. I can’t remember how many matches you wrestled with one arm after that, but you kept winning. It was like The Karate Kid when he hurt his leg but kept going, finishing with that dramatic karate pose.
It finally came down to THE match. Four years of blood, sweat and tears came down to that one contest.
Winner would go to states; loser would not.
You left every fiber of your being on that mat, but came up a few seconds shy of a take-down at the end. And one point short.
My heart broke for you at that moment. If anyone deserved that win, it was you. You worked so hard for it. You were the epitome of “gave it your all.”
You didn’t get the happily ever after ending like in the Karate Kid, but what you didn’t realize – and probably still don’t – is that you were the biggest winner of all that day.
I wish I had recorded the comments the other parents and spectators said about you. You had everyone’s highest respect. Including mine. What you accomplished with what was thrown at you was nothing short of astounding. Many would have given up after the initial mono diagnosis but you never stopped giving 100%200%.
No, you didn’t go to states. But the life lessons you learned will stay with you long after the state medal would have tarnished.
Whew, I got long winded there. You are now probably REALLY glad I was speechless in your room. But let me get back to my reason for the wrestling reminiscing: the life lessons.
Being a good sport is greater than being good at sports.
Life doesn’t always work out the way you plan.
Quitters never win but sometimes you don’t win even if you don’t quit.
Sometimes nice guys do finish last. Or fifth.
The journey can be more important than the destination.
You can lose, yet be the true winner.
You will truly appreciate success only after a failure.
Hmmm…those sounded much more uplifting in my head.
My wish for you is that you always find “wrestling” in your life. Not literally. But my hope is that you always find something that brings you that sheer joy and unflappable determination that wrestling did. And if you don’t have anything that makes you feel that way, keep looking.
I know you are going to be just fine at college. Your wrestling journey has prepared you in case life throws you a curveball (or “if life pins you down” may be a better metaphor).
College is going to be more fun and exciting than you can imagine, but it will also be stressful and scary at times. Know that I’m only a phone call away and ALWAYS ready to listen when you need it, help when you want it and stay out of it when you’ve got it covered. Just remember when you are feeling overwhelmed that things WILL get better.
And, finally, you knew it was coming. My college advice for you:
Go to class. Seriously, go to class.
You will feel very lost at times, literally and figuratively. From directions to a building to learning a math concept, if you need help, ask!
You may really like your roommate. You may hate him. You may feel both on the same day. Or within the same hour.
Free time and Netflix time are not synonymous.
If you realize you hate your major, do something about it. Better to be inconvenienced now than to spend years in a job you don’t enjoy.
Take full advantage of everything the school has to offer. Climb a rock wall, join a club, try a new food.
Real men wear pink (which is handy to know when you accidentally wash your whites and reds together on the hot cycle).
Try not to come home for the first month. I know, I know, this one is shocking coming from me, but you need to give yourself a chance to get settled in. It may be tempting to retreat to the comforts of home when things get tough, but just scream “NO,” jump up off the mat and stay in the match.
And last but not least - let your mother come visit whenever she wants, even if it is every weekend.
The “Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” back to school commercial has always been one of my favorites. I am the mean Mom who usually taunts my kids by singing that song as they are grumbling about the dwindling days of summer. They looooove me for it.
This year is different. I honestly haven’t given “back to school” much thought yet. I’m completely pre-occupied by “off to college.”
The past school year was full of “lasts” for Jimmy. Last homecoming, last football game, last wrestling match, last day as a “child,” last prom, last day of high school, last trip with high school friends. Each last made me sad.
Soon there will be lots of exciting firsts for Jimmy. First night with a roommate, first time in the all-you-can-eat dining hall, first college lecture hall, first frat party, first time putting quarters in a washing machine. And that makes me happy(except maybe the frat party).
There will also be firsts for me. First night not being able to say goodnight, first time having an empty bedroom in the house, first time saying “party of 5″ in a restaurant, first time not needing the 3rd row of seats in the car… I realize it’s not actually the “first” time for those things, but they were the exception. Now they will be the norm. And that makes me sad.
As the “to buy” list gets smaller and smaller, I feel like the “makes me cry” list gets larger and larger.
You know it’s getting really bad when a song called “Ain’t It Fun” brings me to tears every time it is on the radio.
“Ain’t it fun living in the real world
Ain’t it good being all alone
Ain’t it good to be on your own…
Don’t go crying to your mama ’cause you’re on your own in the real world.”
I’m trying a new technique to help with my separation anxiety – chunking time. Instead of thinking about Jimmy being at college until next May, I will only let myself think about how long until I see him next.
6 weeks until parents’ weekend.
Then 2 weeks until fall break.
Then 5 1/2 weeks until Thanksgiving break.
Then 2 1/2 weeks later, winter break will bring him home for 3 1/2 weeks!
Then 9 1/2 weeks until spring break.
Finally, less than 6 weeks until he’s home for summer! That will be my new “Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”
See? Nothing but single digits! Piece of cake, right?? Wrong. But it is helping. A little (said while a tear is running down my cheek…).
It’s still going to take everything in me not to burst into a big old ugly cry right in front of his new dorm-mates. But I’m determined to give him a hug, tell him how proud I am and how much I love him with a smile on my face*. And leave him to his firsts. And unfortunately me to mine.
Giveaway is live Tuesday, August 5, 2014 until midnight on August 22, 2014. US and Canada residents only (excluding Quebec). Three winners will be randomly chosen and notified via email. Momopolize received no compensation for sponsoring this event, and is not responsible for the delivery of the prize. Prize delivery is the sole responsibility of Boogie Wipes.
Warning: Insect harmed in the making of this blog post. But he totally deserved it.
After a long day of whining, I grabbed a glass of wine, gave the boys the look that said “Don’t bug me!” and retreated to the front porch before I ended up flying off the handle.
It was a perfect evening – not too cool and not too swarm. I began surfing the web and next thing I knew it was dark. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.
I was minding my own business, completely beehiving myself when I looked up and saw this ginormous winged creature heading straight for me. The fact that I could see it coming at me IN THE DARK should tell you how big it was.
It was so huge, I thought it must be a moth but as it approached, the loud buzz proved it was gnat what it appeared to be. It seemed to be in slow motion, yet fast enough that I didn’t have time to flea from my chair before it smacked right into my shoulder. I screamed “Sweet moth-er of…it’s ON me!!!” as I flung off the sweatshirt I was wearing and ran inside screaming.
Jim retrieved my shirt from the bushes and told me I had to come see what he found. I was expecting him to be laughing at me freaking out over a tiny little insect, but what I saw was unbeelievable.
I was so freaked out, I’m surprised I didn’t break out into hives. A quick search told me it was a stag beetle, but the size told me it should be called a Volkswagen beetle. With pinchers. Pinchers!
With insects, I have a “you leave me alone, I leave you alone” philosophy but this guy obviously crossed the line. Talk about a buzz kill.
It was either “live and let live” or never step foot on my porch again. I chose the lesser of two weevils.
I went back in the house screaming and let the Jim be the Don and whack the wise guy before the bugger got us pinched.
Jim squashed that sucker as flat as I Love Lucy squashed those grapes at the Italian vineyard.
The soda is for size reference. Trust me, it doesn’t do it justice.
Make sure you notice that the entire back of the bug is squished to the point that it is gone. GONE!
I went to bed with visions of beetle chum crawling in my head. But knowing he was punished for his cruel ant-ticks took the sting out a bit.
What I found when I woke the next morning, however, was beeyond comprehension. No, not the fact that I was a litterbug and left the can on the porch all night. LOOK AT THE BUG!!!
It had not only regenerated its body – it had turned around, walked…and was still alive!!!
I could have sworn I heard a voice say “Stag Beetle, astronaughty. A bug barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic bug. Stag Beetle will be that bug. Better than he was before. Better…stronger…faster.”
How will I ever feel safe on my porch again? What is the ant, sir?
Perhaps I will have to call in the swat team.
Or perhaps I should hope Bugzilla will come to the rescue. If you thought this post was punny, you MUST read about my encounter with Bugzilla here.
Or perhaps if Bugzilla doesn’t make another appearance, I should just drink a lot more wine. Then I won’t care if I have bionic bugs living in my yard.
Luckily O Wines sent me wine so I can calm my nerves. O Wines provided the wine, but I am providing the opinions.
O Wines put a great spin on the wine business by providing college scholarships for low income women and has raised $300,000 through their Opportunity for Success Scholarship program. Maybe the recipients can study moth-ematics and figure out a way to get rid of the unstoppable (unstompable?) stag beetle!!
I’m not much of a red wine drinker so Jim sampled the 2010 Columbia Valley Red Blend and said it didn’t have that bitter bite some reds can have. He really enjoyed it, even as a non-traditional pairing with the salmon we were having for dinner. He said that O Wines blend of Merlot, Carbernet Sauvignon and Syrah resulted in a smooth-like-butter(fly) taste.
I tried the 2011 Columbia Valley Chardonnay (well, Jim sampled some of that too!). With it’s pear aroma, I’m guessing it would have paired even better with the salmon, but I am the odd bird who prefers my wine withOUT food, so I saved my test for after dinner. Its not-too-sweet fruity taste wasp the bee’s knees!
And with that, you are probably ready to tell me to stick a cork in it.
Do you know another way for me to worm my way into your lives? Social media! I’m praying (mantis) you will follow me…
I’m also on Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn but I know you won’t click more than 4 links.
Also make sure you subscribe in the upper left corner via email or Bloglovin’ to get notifications of new posts. Facebook only shows my posts to about 5-10% of my page followers now (because they want pages to pay for views) so the best way to see what I publish is to subscribe!
(For you young’uns out there who have never seen The Bionic Man, go watch an episode online. Now.)
Thanks to Depend® for sponsoring this post. Click here to find out how your tweet can get $1 donated to charity. Depend® will donate up to $3 million!
There are certain times in life when you have such a good time, there’s no other way to describe it than pee-your-pants fun! Mainly because you laugh so much, you might, well…you know.
I recently had the good fortune of one of those lifetime experiences at Blog U. I spent the weekend with a couple hundred of the funniest bloggers around, so - needless to say - it was non-stop laughter.
Nick Mom pulled out all the stops for the retro prom night they sponsored, including an open bar, decorations galore and even inflatable furniture!
The DJ had everyone on their feet, dancing the night away to some good old 80s music. I guess that’s referred to as the oldies now. And that makes me feel oldie.
The dresses may have been purchased at thrift stores around the country, but the look of everyone in their outfits was truly priceless. We all felt as though we’d been transported back in time. Most dressed in 80s attire, with 70s mixed in here and there. I thought I would be representing the oldest decade there with my 60s dress, but Parri from Her Royal Thighness took it waaaay back to the 1900s.
I ordered my dress online and when it arrived in the mail, it was too small to zip. With no time to purchase another, I had to improvise. I literally taped the dress to my back. With packing tape. Yep, I did. Good thing I picked a dress with a feathered robe to hide my “seamstress” handiwork.
I was going for the Zsa Zsa Gabor look but I think it came off more like Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company.
So to recap: 200 ladies laughing and dancing while squeezed in too tight dresses with access to an open bar. In this case I guess we’d have to call it pee-your-prom-dress fun. ::
While I don’t know if anyone actually had the proverbial accident in their prom dress, Depend®‘s “Drop Your Pants for Underwareness” campaign is taking the stigma out of the literal pee-your-pants moments. Their videos are quite attention grabbing and educational, showing the new Silhouette that looks like normal underwear . And I love a good play on words, so they had me at “underwareness.”
Don’t forget to click here and find out how a few keystrokes can get $1 donated to United Way and the Simon Foundation. Depend® will donate up to $3 million over the next 3 years!
I am currently migrating my blog to a self-hosted site and redesigning the layout, and in the process my email subscribers have not been receiving notifications of new posts. I probably should have titled this “technically challenged” since that’s what I am (you’d never know my college major way-back-when was…computer programming!). I just rectified the problem so wanted to send out a quick post with links to recent posts that you didn’t receive! If you could do me a favor and leave a “got it” comment on this post, it would put my mind at ease that I actually DID get the subscriber list moved over properly!
Just click on the titles below to read the recent posts I’ve published:
Are You Kidding Me???: My Erma Bombeck “You Can Write” moment with Dan Zevin, the 2013 winner of the Thurber Prize for American humor and the 2014 National Society of Newspaper Columnists “Humor, over 50,000 Circulation” winner. Part 1 of my experience at the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop. I promise to post Part 2 before the next workshop…in 2016!
Also, I did a fun experiment on Facebook asking for one word comments that I will combine into a blog post next week. From this experiment, I realized I have cruel, heartless fans on my FB page. Just kidding, but boy did they give me some doozy words to weave into a post. It’s not too late to participate! Just click here to go to the FB status and leave your one word comment!
While we are talking social media, can you give me a like or follow?? Social media fans are like the bread crumbs that keep a blogger going!
I’m also on LinkedIn but am so clueless on there I don’t even know the URL to get directly to my profile. You can search Angela McKeown Momopolize though.
As I approach my 2 year blogging anniversary (later this month), I just want to take a moment to thank all of you who are loyal readers! I have the best followers around (but don’t tell the other bloggers – I don’t want to make them jealous)!!!
Hopefully my site will be all “perdy” very soon when I finally pick a fancy schmancy theme and figure out how to use it (so it may be a while. A long while…)!
Jimmy leaves for college in a couple of weeks (EEEEEEEEK!), and as the date gets more near, I get more fear.
The first time I see him after the semester begins will most likely be Parents’ weekend.
This is what I am afraid I will find when I arrive…
1. His idea of “doing laundry” will be spraying Febreeze on his dirty clothes. If he does actually use a washing machine, the clothes will sit there for days, resulting in a moldy, wrinkled mess.
2. He will go without shaving for so long, he will be offered a recurring role on Duck Dynasty.
3. The word sunblock will not be in his vocabulary.
4. He will not feed himself, causing his eyes to turn black. You know, like the vampires in Twilight when they get hungry.
5. He will not shower for so long, a cloud of dust will follow him around like Pigpen from Peanuts.
Oh wait, I just thought of the worst possibility of all…
6. He will change so much, it will be like he was abducted by aliens who have taken over his body.
Fortunately, Gillette has helped eliminate worry #2! They have a blade refill subscription service that delivers Gillette’s blades directly to your door! How cool is that?! And it’s only about $1 a week for most guys. Since I’m sure Jimmy will be using all his spare time for studying, taking advantage of a subscription that means one less thing to shop for is a no-brainer (See what I did there?).
Now if I could just convince the university to offer room service I would be able to take #4 off the list…
P.S. NO, I don’t actually think Jimmy is going to turn into a vampire or an alien. That’s just crazy. I mean, his college is in the mountains, so turning into a werewolf is much more likely. Duh.
P.P.S. Seriously (for once)…While it is true that I am feeling much trepidation over Jimmy leaving, I couldn’t be more proud of the responsible young man he’s turned into. I have no doubt that he will thrive at college and will be able to feed and clothe himself just fine. Except for the wrinkled shirt part.
Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Gillettevia MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Gillette or MomTrends.
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*Jimmy agreed. “It’s really cool” were his exact words, I think. Which from an 18 year old is very high praise!
***Under Construction: Site re-design in progress.***
I’m not afraid of the Boogie Man jumping out from under my bed or hiding in my closet. My fear of the Boogie Man comes from seeing him in broad daylight, in a school classroom.
I was volunteering in the kindergarten classroom when I looked across the room to see my son (who shall remain nameless) “picking a winner,” if you know what I mean.
And that was the day I realized I was the Boogie Man’s mother.
It was also the day I gained much respect for kindergarten teachers once I noticed that over half the class was digging or scratching some body part they shouldn’t be.
Snot’snot funny. Oops. Missed a space there.
But you know what is fun(ny)? Winning a $50 gift card from Walmart! I’ve admitted time and time and time again that I’m a Walmartian (and belong on the People of Walmart website). You can also win a Boogie Wipes prize pack, because – let’s face it – before kidS learns what it means to blow through their noses, colds usually end up causing a tarred and feathered face when using tissues. I’m surprised no one has marketed booger glue – when that stuff dries, it’s stronger than cement and super glue combined.
Pardon me while I go hurl.
I should probably tell a joke to get the mucus mucilage memory erased from your brain. So…How do you make a tissue dance?
You put a little boogie in it.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy What Does the Kid Say??? which is a compilation of hysterical toddler speak including sneezes referred to as “Bless Yous.”
In celebration of Great Grape Boogie Wipes being sold at Walmart, I’m teaming up with Boogie Wipes to offer the Great Grape Summer Giveaway! One winner will be drawn each week for eight weeks and will receive a $50 Walmart gift card and a Boogie Wipes prize pack.
How to Enter
From following some of our favorite bloggers on social media to instagramming a picture of your Great Grape purchase at Walmart, there are dozens of ways to enter – and a few ways to enter every single day.
Giveaway is live Tuesday, July 8, 2014 until midnight on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. US and Canada residents only. One winner will be chosen each week and will be notified via email. Momopolize received no compensation for sponsoring this event, and is not responsible for the delivery of the prize. Prize delivery is the sole responsibility of Boogie Wipes.
This post is sponsored by General Mills but my love of their cereal and family fun is all my own!
Family movie night at our house is always interesting because we have comfy, reclining couches to seat 5…but a family of 6. When the movie is about to start, it’s like musical chairs meets WWE to see who gets the sofa spots.
This week, however, Jimmy is out of town vacationing with a friend so there was no pushin’ for the cushions. (By the way, that made me incredibly sad. Yes, sad. Because I realize after he leaves for college in a few weeks, activities with all six of us will be few and far between!!! I think I may need to get a life size cardboard cut-out to set up in the house when he leaves so I won’t be bawling all the time. But I digress…)
Specially marked boxes of Big G cereal have a code for a free movie download (2 codes needed for every free download). I like free! I got Lucky Charms, Honey Nut Cheerios and Golden Grahams. So I can’t make decisions. Or count to 2. One of those.
As a special movie time treat, we made 3 kinds of cereal bars. Because one two is never enough . The Lucky Charms recipe is below. You can find this recipe all over the internet, but mine is a bit, ummm, different. Following the instructions verrrry precisely is crucial.
Lucky Charms are magically delicious but I'm revealing the magician's tricks for the cereal bars
4 cups Lucky Charms (most recipes call for 6 but we like extra gooey)
10 ounce bag Marshmallows
4 tablespoons butter
Put cereal in zip lock bag.
Give your son a rolling pin. You may substitute daughter if no son available.
Tell him not to hit his sibling with it. Repeat.
Give son permission to be a cereal killer.
Beat cereal with a rolling pin until you crush its soul. Or until it is crushed.
Put one marshmallow on a microwave safe plate and cook until it explodes.
Clean microwave (optional).
Put remaining marshmallows and 3 tablespoons of butter (not all 4) in a microwave safe bowl and cook until melted.
Dump crushed cereal into marshmallow mush.
Take remaining tablespoon of butter and rub it all over your hands. Trust me, you'll thank me when you don't have marshmallows stuck all over you, plus your hands will be smooth like butte...oh, never mind.
Pretend the marshmallow/cereal mixture is play-do and squish it with your hands until it is well mixed.
Get out a pretty serving dish.
Put the pretty serving dish back in the cabinet.
Eat directly from mixing bowl with your greasy hands.
(Just substitute the same amount of Cheerios or Golden Grahams for the other varieties. Oh, and add some chocolate chips for the Golden Grahams. General Mills calls them Indoor S’mores. I call them Give Me S’more O Dat.)
If you’ve had a bad day you can modify the recipe to do the cereal beat-down yourself, because smashing things is very therapeutic. I let my own Big G (Greg) be the cereal killer for this batch though. .
You may notice the Lucky Charms aren’t smashed. I thought the photo would look better, but I think they taste much better crushed because the marshmallow can envelope every little morsel of cereal! I also think it tastes better the day after it is made (it gets less crunchy, more chewy) but a batch very rarely makes it to the next day.
What other varieties of cereal would make yummy marshmallow treats??
“Are you kidding me???” was my first thought when I found out I made it to the top of the waiting list for the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop this year. And once I was there, it was a fun weekend of kidding around with some of the funniest kidders around. A conference tradition is a stand up comedy show on the last night. Stacey Gustafson was the first person I met who was one of the few attendees brave enough to sign up to be in the show. I remember thinking that I’d never be able to stand up in front of hundreds of people, read something I wrote and wait (and pray) for laughter – especially with an audience full of humorists!
Just showing up for the conference was about all the courage I could muster. Since last fall, Lyme brain had not only taken away cognitive function, it had also taken away my self esteem. Truth be told, I almost cancelled the trip. I was terrified to go and look like a forgetful, mumbling, bumbling idiot – at the queen of humor’s name-sake workshop no less. But alas, I couldn’t finagle a refund so off to Dayton I went.
There were many ups and downs during the trip (see some photos at the end of the post), but I will tell you the biggest highlight here (I will save the funny lowlights for another post.). The conference sessions were led by some really heavy hitters in the writing world. At first, I found myself slinking further and further down into my seat during the sessions, thinking I belonged at the conference less than I – as a lefty – belonged in that right-handed college lecture hall desk, writing in a right-handed spiral notebook. My smudged notes and my inky covered pinky were very symbolic of how I felt in a room full of confident accomplished and talented writers.
But then a strange thing happened. The more writers I met, the more I realized that even those who had written multiple books or had a syndicated column or had gazillions of monthly online views all had something in common: they had doubts about their ability at some time or another. And then another strange thing happened. As the hours went on, I started to feel like I did belong at the workshop honoring the late great Erma.
By the end of the second day, I found myself sitting in the front row of a session led by Dan Zevin, the 2013 winner of the Thurber Prize for American humor and the 2014 National Society of Newspaper Columnists “Humor, over 50,000 Circulation” winner. (Incidentally, my blogging friend Darcy of So Then Stories won the “Blog and Multimedia Columns” category!! She’s one funny lady – you should check her out.) Dan’s session was a hands on workshop (or pens on?) where he gave us writing prompts, a short time to respond, and the opportunity to read our writing result to the room. I sat in awe of story after story being read. How did they come up with that brilliance in a couple of minutes?? And how did they have the courage to read it to a room full of people??
It was time for the last writing prompt of the class. “A character on a train sits down and takes his shoes off and massages his feet.” I scribbled furiously for the 2 minutes (which seems like 2 seconds when you are being timed!) and came up with…
I was riding on the train to Toepeka and I was in a real jambecause of the guy who sat next to me. I tried to shoe him away but he sat a foot away from me the entire ride. I knew he was a total heelwhen he started massaging his bare feet. I wanted to haul off and sock him. What an arch hole!
Then the strangest thing of all happened. When asked who’d like to read their story out loud, my hand went up in the air. What the heck?? I DON’T READ OUT LOUD. What are you doing hand?? Get down from there. Before I knew what was happening, Dan pointed at me…and I started reading. It’s no stand up show, but was a big step for me. I’m not the hand raiser. Not the public speaker. Not the put myself out there and risk crickets type. But I did it. Erma’s conference gave me that. And then Dan gave me something more: a compliment.
After I finished reading, I looked up – shaking and red-faced I’m sure – and Dan said five simple words “That was funny! Really funny!” As I exited the classroom, I thanked him for the fantastic session and he again complimented my story. The Erma Bombeck website describes their writer’s workshop as “very supportive to both new and established writers looking for the kind of inspirationErma received from University of Dayton professor Brother Tom Price: ‘You can write!’”
I’m sure Dan Zevin has no idea that his words felt like my “you can write” moment. Several months later, my foggy Lyme brain is still preventing me from writing often (it’s embarrassing how long this admittedly ordinary post took me to write) but when I get discouraged and want to just quit, I pull out my smudged spiral notebook and remind myself that I was funny. Really funny.
Will I be signing up for the stand up show alongside Stacey at the next Erma conference? Probably not. But I will at least feel like I deserve to be in the audience.
My trip in photos. Well, a few photos. I will post more with the funny “lowlights” post.
My “I may throw up before I get there” airport selfie.
After seeing my hotel room, it was VERY tempting to just hide the whole time. Comfy bed, flat screen and…silence!
Cake was served at EVERY lunch and dinner. And the best part? Everyone ate it! There was no “oh, I couldn’t possibly eat that fattening dessert.” Every bite was gobbled up on every plate at every meal. At EBWW, you really can have your cake and eat it too.
My end-of-first-day selfie: more tired, more puffy but also more happy that I went.
***Please pardon my site’s appearance as I’m going through a redesign and migration to a self-hosted site.***
Stacey Gustafson is putting herself out there in a brave way again, with the cover reveal for her new book, Are You Kidding Me? My Life With an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives. I can’t wait to read this book when it is released this fall because I have an extremely loud family, more than my share of bathroom calamities and…well…some relatives read my blog so I will just leave it at that.
I will leave you with a little teaser for Stacey’s book: Hop into your minivan and get ready to cruise through the crazies of Suburbia! Humorist Stacey Gustafson makes an entertaining tour guide in Are You Kidding Me?, a brash, voyeuristic peek inside the topsy-turvy world of suburban motherhood, midlife madness, and all points in between. If you’ve ever called SWAT on a neighbor, faked a heart attack in church, or pulled your hair out while questioning the sanity of your family, Stacey’s tongue-in-cheek brand of humor will resonate with you. Enjoy the ride and don’t forget to fasten your seat belt.*
*I received no compensation for helping Stacey promote her book.