Ant Farm

I’m fully aware that many moms let their children get a jar to collect an insect.  And the child often feeds the insect and gets to study it.

Since I am a bug-phobe I’ve always said they could observe outside but only outside.  The kids complain often.

“But Mom it’s just a praying mantis.”  “But Mom this beetle is for school!”  “But Mom it’s just a caterpillar!” “But Mom you can never find these trapdoor spiders!”

My response is always the same.  “My name is not ButMom. And, I’m very sorry, but if I make an exception for one insect/bug/arachnid then I’d have to make exceptions for all of them and the exterminator would not be very happy with me.”

I say this very calmly and act like it’s the exterminator who won’t let me bend the rules, but my inner voice is saying, “Ew!  Gross!  Get that THING away from me!!!”  But of course if you say that your kids will think it’s hilarious and you can guarantee bugs or fake bugs will be flung at you.

I take great precautions to keep our bug invasion at a minimum.  In fact we went out and bought some caulking in preparation for this invasion happening right now.  I’m not going to lie.  It gives me nightmares.

So, the latest request is having an ant farm.  I gave my standard reply. Besides, they know that if it’s not poisonous they can observe insects outside.

So I wasn’t worried when Anabelle came in and said, “I made my very own ant farm!”

“That’s nice,” I said, still making dinner.

“I snuck a Dorito out of the pantry and took it out to them and crumbled it up and made a path for them to follow.”  Anabelle was beaming.  “They loved it!”

I smiled and kept making dinner when a thought hit me.  “Wait.  Where did you make this path?”

“From the grass right up to the back door!”

A store-bought, contained ant farm isn’t sounding too bad right now.  Oh, excuse me.  I have to let the exterminator in – Anabelle has her angry glare ready for him.

The Chaperone

The book follows Cora, a Kansas housewife with grown kids, as she agrees to chaperone Louise Brooks in the 1920s to New York.  At the time of this historical fiction novel, Louise Brooks is fifteen years old, but we know from the abrupt flashes of the future within the novel (unless you already knew your history well enough) that Louise will become a famous silent-film star.

The author does a fabulous job in making Cora a very likeable character.  You really want to know why she is willing to leave her handsome, affectionate husband at home and volunteer to accompany a rude, spoiled brat to New York for a little over a month.

The middle of the book was my favorite as we learn about Cora’s upbringing and as a result learn a lot of history about the depression and what it was like for orphans in that time period.  The author clearly did her research and as a result, I found myself so engaged with the main character that when typical beliefs about race and gender and parentage in that time period popped up, I was shocked.  As in, Oh! I forgot that was how people viewed that then.

That said, the last third of the book had some twists and turns (and too much detail) that weren’t pleasant reading for me.  If you are a conservative reader, you may want to skip this one.  At the close of the book, I was glad to have learned more about the time period and glad that I wasn’t born in that time period!

If you’re interested in reading The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty, it’s not too late to join the BlogHer Book Club – we’re discussing 7 or 8 chapters at time.

I was compensated by the BlogHerBookClub for this review but the opinions expressed were entirely my own.

Prepping for the Olympics

How do you get your kiddos excited about the Olympics? For us, we started with watching Cool Runnings.
Yes, I know that’s Winter Olympics, but still…

Then we watched some Olympic Trials – did you see the one where the winner kept on swimming after he won? Kids thought that was hilarious.

Second, we pulled out some maps and puzzle maps. I like that the kids know where each Olympian is from in their mind’s eye.  We started with the United States.

The kids quickly assembled the puzzle then Sam got a funny look in his eyes and said,

Then they all laughed hysterically and couldn’t wait to pull out the next puzzle:

the WORLD!

So we’re ready for the Olympics!  That, and I think there should be another Olympic event:  DogBathing.

I speak from experience  (ten minutes ago).

Each country would need a team of athletes armed with water, shampoo, towels, treats, and eventually a hair dryer.

They’d run outside and try to keep the dog in a circle while cleaning the dog in the shortest amount of time before the dog shakes and gets your team soaking wet.

I’m sure, judging by the neighbor looking over the fence (who wouldn’t stop laughing), that it would be a very entertaining event.

Are you ready for the Olympics?


Today I’m guest posting at Celebrate Every Day with Me on the subject of raising funny kids.  Hope you visit!

If you want to know more on what makes a child laugh at each development stage, I wrote an article on the topic for a regional family magazine that is available online here.

As it’s National Blueberry Month, I’m reminded of something that happened 5 years ago that I still get teased about – so for Flashback Friday, I’ll share:

This little guy had been through quite the struggle with allergies. Our attempts to help it with diet made a big difference.  A month after avoiding certain foods, he noticed such a difference that he always asked me, “Is this healthy?” before he ate it. That, and, he reminded me, he wants to be taller and stronger than his sister in record time.

So imagine my surprise when last Saturday morning he proclaimed, “I want PIE for breakfast!”

Mike cracked up and said he had to be related to his Grandpa. ( :

But I did happen to have a bunch of frozen blueberries so I told him that later that day we could make a healthy blueberry pie. He lit up. And so we did – it was a ton of work (for someone who isn’t great at cooking) to make the double-crusted healthy version from scratch. We also made chicken and mashed potatoes and broccoli for a full-on yummy dinner.

We finished eating our dinner and I brought out the pie. It was delicious and everyone was enjoying it. Sam’s eyes drifted to the broccoli bowl that still held several pieces. His fork froze in mid-air. “Can I eat the rest of the broccoli?” he asked.

“No.” I sighed, thinking of all the work I had gone to, “you have to finish your pie before you can have more broccoli!”
I froze, replaying the words in my head, but it was too late. Mike hit the table, eyes filling with tears, as his guffaws overtook him – his laughter was contagious.  The kids were giggling hysterically.  Everyone will always remember that Mom thinks eating pie is more important than broccoli.

Sigh.  So if you make a pie for national blueberry month, be careful what you say! ( :