Fun with Pinterest 1950's Edition

Official Song of the 1950's Housewife.  Read on and find out why...(as if you don't already know).

One of my favorite social media sites is Pinterest.  I can't tell you how many times I have stared hopelessly into the depths of my fridge to find meat with no inspiration to follow.  I only have to worry for 2 minutes until I can get Pinterest up on my computer to help me.  But what about the holidays!

What appetizer can I make for Thanksgiving? 

What can I do for a side salad for Christmas?

What can I take to holiday parties?

How can I jazz up my Thanksgiving table without too much effort?

Luckily, I am living in modern day where all I have to do is type those questions in and Voila! More answers await than I have time to even explore.

But what if I was in the middle of life in the 1950's?  I would have to turn to magazines and cookbooks like those poor housewives of the old days.  As I wandered around the local antique store in town, I happened upon three Better Homes and Gardens magazines from the 1950's and almost fell over as I anxiously turned the pages and read the Holiday Tips and Recipes section. Could you imagine if Pinterest was around back then - you'd have basically three boards:  Jello, Loaves, and Casseroles.  Bahahaa!

I decided to share some of the funniest photos, articles and recipes so that you could really embrace the idea of what Pinterest has done for us and how far we've actually come in what we have to work with.

I hope you get a good laugh out of it - and since the holidays are, in fact, coming, and we will be using Pinterest more than ever, this should help you really take time to appreciate the gift that program really is to us.

Enjoy, and until next time, stay away from surprise Jello.

The first colorful page that not only caught my eye, but also made my stomach turn immediately, was the article called "Thrifty Hamburger Dinners."  This collection of recipes include  Hamburger Ring Barbeque; a recipe that involves baking meatloaf in a jello mold and decorating the middle of the ring with green beans slathered in butter and topped with a sweet and spicy barbeque sauce, and several other gag-worthy nightmares.  Center stage of the photo stars a recipe for "Upside Down Hamburger Pie" that  calls for a combination of ground beef, FAT, and tomato soup on a bed of biscuits and topped with raw onion rings.  Not sure about your kids, but I might have a complete uprising if I put that on the table, not to mention, I try not to stock my pantry with fat in a jar.  One of the funniest things I noticed that 6 out of the 10 hamburger recipes call for tomato soup, fat, and green beans.  The lack of choices when pulling these dishes together was equal parts funny and sad.  Other recipe titles in this article were:  "He-Man Casserole," "Chef's Surprise,"  (you will see the word "surprise" used often in these recipes), "Savory Meatpie," and "Steak and Onion Pie."  I don't know about you, but none of those yell "MAKE ME TONIGHT."  Maybe I'm too picky?

This comes from an article called "Thrifty Hamburger Dinners."
 I had to include this advertisement for Libby's because it caught my eye as I flipped through.  I am kind of jealous that I don't own a Vegetable Tilt-a-Whirl.  Imagine how fun a buffet table would look with one of these - preferably not with succotash-like themes in the mini-cars of the ferris wheel.  Maybe hummus, dip, raw veggies, fruit?  Not sure, but I NEED this 1950's  server on my Holiday Table. 

Because your table is plain old naked without the Veggie Ferris Wheel.
I had to post this Prize Recipes photo because it is such a sad representation of what these people had to work with for exciting new dishes in the 50's.  Think about what a recipe needs to win a prize THESE days of Pinterest and then consider the "winners" of that year.  Some of the winners include:
Pennsylvania Dutch Pepper Cabbage - main ingredient is Heinz canned Chicken Stew with Dumplings.   A close second place winner include Macaroni Tuna Loaf starring a can of "Macaroni in Cheese Sauce" (sorry folks, no longer found in can variety in stores!), and get this - "Hearty Beans: a masculine favorite with a special feminine appeal when topped with onion braised in butter."  Because nothing yells feminine touch like being braised in butter and smelling like onions.  Oh the creative writing of Mad Men agencies to make Heinz Cooking Contest sing the praises of women all over the country.  For dessert, the big winner was a 'Big, Cool, Refreshing Fruit Salad" made with canned fruit, GARNISHED WITH FRESH FRUIT and  - wait for it - topped with HEINZ VINEGAR.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! NO NO NO NO! 
One of the "Prize Winning Entries"  consists of Cream of Canned Macaroni.  *Shudder*
Moving on to desserts.  You can't imagine the poor choices and horrible ideas that were suggested in these magazines.  First of all, everything is a BIG SURPRISE.  I'm not sure if the 50's lacked that much zest for life, or general lack of surprise - but why did the element of fun and shock have to come via dessert?  I don't know about you, but I like birthday surprises, and party surprises, but NOT surprises in my spoonfuls of food. Maybe we just aren't risk takers like the people of the 50's?  Take this "WHITE Mystery Fruitcake"  (why is white capitalized? was it that big of a shocker that the cake would be white?) Aren't there enough surprises in fruit cake as it is - why more?  Because MORE surprises make it MORE fun to NOT eat!  Guess what the mystery ingredient that makes it white is!  Betty Crocker WHITE cake mix.  WHO KNEW! Those were some wild and crazy contestants in the kitchen of Top Chef Betty Crocker Corporation.  Oh, and just for fun, don't forget to throw in white frosting to really confuse them.
Why all the mystery?  Were the 50's missing that much excitement that their surprises had to come by way of their food?
You guys, I can't.  I don't know if I'm ready to talk about this one yet.  I'll try.  Want to know what the fun surprise ingredient is in these Thanksgiving dinner side dishes?  Mayonnaise.  Oh, and Pineapple....or maybe the walnuts?  or the unflavored gelatin (why did EVERYTHING have to be Jello-like consistency?)  Don't you dare forget to serve it on a bed of lettuce and TOP IT WITH ANOTHER TABLESPOON OF MAYO!  
Cranberry Souffle Surprise - Jello Plus Mayo Plus Lemon = NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO and the slogan "This is the place for Hellman's?  No...actually, this is NOT the place, like at all...for Hellman's. Go home to your tuna salad where you belong."
I feel like the sad part about the Holiday Edition of the Better Homes 1950's edition was the large section DEDICATED to fruit cake.  What was so damn elegant about fruitcake?  NO ONE ATE THEM.  Everyone brought them to each other's house and smiled their June Cleaver smile while secretly rolling their eyes to heaven as they placed it on the dessert table.  No seven layer bars?  No three tier cake boss type cakes at these parties?  Ooof.  No wonder the ladies were so damn skinny - the food choices were disgusting! 
Yay for more secrets!!! Oooh tell us! What is the BIG SECRET in this beauty?  Double rich Pet Milk!  WHAT THE HELL IS PET MILK ANYWAY?? Turns out it was just evaporated milk...and they thought that was a great idea to name it. I know they claim that Pet Milk was the big surprise ingredient, but as I look over the list, I have to say I am torn between the Marshmallows, dates, and the surprise alcohol flavoring.  All of them just so unexpected it's hard to say who wins. 
 I was utterly terrified while reading the treats that every holiday feast must include.  Take the Yuletide Mold for starters.  Of course the recipe calls for even more unflavored gelatin (why..for the love - was jello the only consistency they could eat??? What the hell?), SOUR CREAM, AVOCADO (weren't they just ahead of their time using avocado!?), TABASCO - oh make it stop! Your Yuletide Mold cried for only the BEST salad dressing, pimiento and oranges.  Are you starting to wonder if anyone actually ate any of this?  Could you imagine the poor kids?  "Now honey, be a good boy and eat all of your Yuletide Mold that Grandma made!"   GROSS!  Moving on to the Gala Fruit Wreath pictured below, that bowl of white creamy stuff in the middle is in fact, NOT cream cheese fruit spread or anything fun like that - no delicious goodness to dip your fruit in.  It is, my friends, MAYONNAISE.  More Mayonnaise.  Mayonnaise and jello, mayo and veggies, mayo and meat, mayo and fruit. MAYO MAYO MAYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  Do you think when these ladies were making their holiday dishes they just started singing, "I throw my hands up in the air sometimes singing "MAYO...GOTTA USE MAYYYOOOO." 
 Come on people!  Don't you just want to yell back in time and tell them that some day they will live a life without JELLO AND MAYO SURPRISES!  Hang in there - Pinterest is commmmmmminnnnnnnng!    Okay let's talk about the frosted King Henry grapes on the Gala Fruit Wreath.  Maybe their grapes weren't already white from pesticide like ours are now - maybe they didn't have to wash them six times to get that film off?  So they had to create their own frosted look with using egg whites and coating them in sugar.  Egg whites and sugar.  Egg whites and Sugar....on their grapes.  Who ate this stuff?  They suggest using the Wreath as a centerpiece AND a Salad OR Dessert.   Wait, what?  When they give you the choice of using something as a salad OR a dessert we have a serious problem. I feel extremely sad that they suggest garnishing your wreath with - are you ready?  Holly leaves.  What poor, unknowing man will innocently grab a holly leaf, dip it in that irresistIble mayo dip and end up in the guest bathroom with side effects of eating holly leaves like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach and intestinal problems.  It's just not a party until you have Poison Control on the heavy rotary phone.
Gala Fruit Wreath: Center a large round platter with bowl of Fluffy Mayo, apple cups placed on groups of 3 lettuce ruffles, fill in with fruits like canned pears, canned peaches, canned pineapple, canned apricots, frosted grapes AND fresh kumquats.  Oh that made me laugh - everything canned and frosted - but must add fresh kumquats.  Who the hell does Kumquats thing he is? lol!  Don't forget the candied ginger to ease stomach upset after eating the poisonous holly leaves.  WAY TO GO BETTER HOMES.   THIS IS A CLASSIC.
 Shoot!  I forgot to pop this in under Fun with Holiday Appetizers!!  This amazing Holiday Cheese Ring is not enough when served on a platter with crackers - it MUST be adorned in toxic glass Christmas bulbs!   You guys, really?   Why would it ever, EVER, be necessary to adorn a cheese ring with GLASS BULBS??  I mean WTF? STOP THIS MADNESS 1950's housewives!  I'm begging you! 
Be extra careful how much you have to drink at this holiday party because slicing into a cheese ring could poison you.
 Why should Pillsbury have all of the fun with their bad ideas of cheese roll center poisoning decor?  What about this brilliant idea for your cake center?  In this recipe for "Cherry Candle Cake" it will LOOK like Christmas when you light this candle on your dessert table!  When you cut this deliciously light and airy cake, folks will see the red flecks of candied cherry and not know whether they are part of the outside lead paint of the red candle or actual bits of cherry!  Nothing says risk taker like throwing caution to the wind and really digging into this toxic cake!  I'll tell you, folks will be lined up outside of the guest bathroom at this awesome party!

That's it for now my friends.  I hope you got a good laugh like I did - - and now you will really appreciate Pinterest, and the millions of recipes at your fingertips this holiday season.  May your season be merry, bright, peaceful, and without Jello, Mayo, Food Surprises, & Poison.  We've come a long way, baby.

First Degree Burn(out)

It's Sunday, my friends. 

I don't know about you but I am exhausted.  I feel as though once Spring actually came, we were so deprived from the long cold winter and being stuck inside for month after month, that we went outside and barely stopped moving for fear we'd find ourselves hibernating again in the cold before we knew it.

And here we are.  Spring came late and left early - chased away by Summer and all of the activities that it brings.  Between baseball and lacrosse, dance recitals, graduations, summer bbqs, and the go go go in general, Summer was gone in a blink.  Back to school started a new type of whirlwind with adjusting to new teachers and students and schedules and soccer.  Every weekend packed full of stuff....stuff to keep us busy, stuff to provide photos for Instagram and Facebook for all to see that we are important people that are on the move and keeping up with the Joneses. (I'm speaking in general, tongue-in-cheek terms, here). Suddenly, it's October 19th and we've baked all we can for fall festivals and last day of soccer games and craft fairs and and and freaking and.     We. Are. Exhausted.

But wait....there's more.

There are bills to pay.
There are houses to clean.
There is a mound of laundry to be tackled.
There is ISIS.
Political Campaign Calls.
Notes from school bearing news of Lice, Strep, Croup...etc.

Is it any wonder we are fried?  When this is the song that's playing in our heads on a daily basis, of course we're going to be burned out!  GOTTA GO TO WORK- GOTTA GO TO A MEETING- GOTTA HIT THE BANK- NEED TO GET GAS -HAVE TO MAIL A PACKAGE- THE KIDS NEED A CHECKUP- I SHOULD COLOR MY HAIR- WE'RE OUT OF MILK- I JUST READ ON FACEBOOK THAT MY FRIEND'S AUNT'S COUSIN'S ROOMMATE FROM COLLEGE WAS ON A PLANE WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS EBOLA-I FORGOT MY GRANDMOTHER'S BIRTHDAY-THE GARAGE DOOR IS BROKEN-WE SHOULD GO TO CHURCH SUNDAY BUT NONE OF THEIR CHURCH SHOES FIT....  Maybe it's not all of the things we have to do in any given week that stresses out, but the THOUGHT of all of the things we have to do.  Maybe we over think things - maybe we just need to realize so much of this isn't even in our control and just learn to let it roll and take it as it comes.  Ha! Easier said than actually done.

We, as parents, have to keep moving forward, keeping up with everything and everyone, and life in general.  We cannot lag behind.  There is no one to push us in a stroller, or hold our hand to pull us along and keep us focused on the treat at the end of the day - no - only we can do that and sometimes, damn it, it's hard.   This is when I feel like I'm suffering from First Degree Burnout.  I say First Degree because it's uncomfortable, but not dangerous.  But the fear of Second and Third Degree Burnout startles me.  That feeling when you want to give up or you have given up.   I am somewhat comforted by the thought that we all must feel that way at some point, right?

Look, I know life is hard.  As a middle class mama, no matter what I complain about, it does sound like First World problems compared to so many in this world that suffer, but that doesn't minimize our struggles.  Parents are parents.  We want our children to be okay, to be healthy and stay healthy, to have kind friends and wonderful teachers, to be good friends and respectful students.  We want them to do their best, be their best, and above all, be happy little ones.  But let's face it, we are afraid for the world we live in.  We know too much, and in their little faces we see innocence and want to protect them from the ugly that's all around us.  We are tired - and rightfully so.  We are all just doing the best we can and sometimes in the midst of all of that we get a little lost and a bit weary - and maybe that's why winter comes just when we need it most.  It's like a way of forcing us back in the nest to settle in earlier, cozy up on the couch here and there and just exhale. 

I love this quote.

Getting burned out is something we all experience - some of us weekly, or monthly, or yearly or if you are really lucky - longer than that.  We care so much about our families and our homes and our jobs - our communities, our world - that we exhaust ourselves and our minds and even our souls with the worry and exhaustion that comes along with caring.  We go to bed completely wiped out every night with a thousand scenarios dancing in our heads - did we forget this or that - what's on tap for tomorrow - what if someone gets sick - what if ...what if...what if?  Shhhhh....we try to quiet our minds and thankfully, and most of the time, we are so tired that sleep takes us quickly.  If we keep going like this - like the Energizer bunny on crack - we get a mandatory time out by way of illness - cold, fever, whatever.  We've got to stop thinking this kind of go-go-go is temporary and realize it can and will become a way of life if we don't slow it down a little.  How many of us are walking around cranky, irritable, tired, worried, and weary and feeling like there is NO TIME for anything - and whatever there is requires what feels like an unbearable amount of effort.  Have you ever heard the beginning of the depression commercials when they ask "are you worried, sad, tired, depressed...blah blah..."  well most of us answer yes to all of the above.  An emphatic Yes to it all.

So - what do we do?  Isn't that the million dollar question?  I only know what I have been doing lately to survive.   First of all, with the whole Ebola thing - read the facts, educate yourself and free your mind of the bombardment of media.  Once you've done that, you are not a prisoner of fear of the unknown anymore.  Other scary stuff - I continue to live my life in the most happy, carefree way possible - and know that when it is my time to go, I will go and there's not much I can do about that other than not play in traffic or text and drive.  I can at least NOT encourage my time to come get me earlier by making smart decisions.  As far as the state of our world, country, state, city, community - - - I take baby steps and volunteer my time for two non-profits in my area that provide much needed help to children in need.  By doing this, I am taking my worries, and my woes, and my frustration for how things are - and putting them to good use in results I can see with my own eyes.  Seeing the smile on a child's face when they get a new pair of boots, or coat, or snowpants, or get to go on one of our scholarships to basketball camp or get a hockey stick with our funding - THAT'S what helps put salve on my burns.  Do SOMETHING that helps SOMEONE.  This is the greatest gift you can give yourself and others.

Turning to friends and family and laughing and enjoying life is the great first aid, too.  You need these people to support you and encourage you and help you through the craziness. Just knowing you are not alone in the Marathon of Life helps more than you know.

The holidays are coming and I beg you, instead of letting them stress you out and continue the cycle of burnout - commit yourself to simplicity and helping others so that you might find solace in return.  We are the only ones who can restore our strength, fill our tanks up with positivity, and fight the good fight.

Until next time, find some relief to your burns, and know we're all in this together.


10 Reasons to Stay at the NickHotel in Orlando

Every once in the while, playing on the Internet actually pays off.  It was a cold and dreary March night.  I was suffering from the Indoor Blues, Spring Fever, lack of sunshine and fed up with the million and one snow days.  My kids were in bed.  It was a school night.  My husband was watching some sci-fi and I, of course, turned to my friends in my computer for entertainment.  I hopped on Twitter and joined in on a very fun Twitter Party hosted by Suburban Snapshots and  sponsored by the very funny people behind NickMom.  I am a huge fan, supporter, and lover of both of them and of course the goal of most twitter parties is to get the hashtag to trend, right?  So I figured I'd turn my grouchy frown upside down and have some fun with hilarious people talking about vacations on this twitter party. I used that hashtag as many times as I could while answering funny questions and responded to others.  At the end of the party, one lucky tweeter would win a 3 night trip to the NickHotel.  Believe it or not - I won the prize.  I could NOT believe I was seeing my name.  (sidenote: it was a computer generated win monitored by an actual prize company - so please don't hate me for once in my life being on the winning end of a contest - rest assured, I've never won any of these computer generated entries before and probably never will again).   SO...I won.  Imagine my sheer joy in knowing I would be able to take our family on a vacation that wouldn't have happened otherwise because no money, no funny as far as heading to Florida any time in our near future.

I kept it a secret from the kids for months.  I knew they always got the day-before-school-starts blues every year so I decided to give them a YES DAY to divert their attention to a fun way to spend the last day of summer vacation.  I granted them THREE wishes to say yes to (within reason, of course) and they were SO happy with the simplest of yes answers it went much smoother than I thought.  I told them there would be a Grand Finale after dinner to YES day.

Before the nerves of the first day of school could get them in a chokehold, my husband and I decided we would not drag it out any further.  We called them into the family room and told them we had a big surprise.  They had been begging us to go to Florida for three years, and each time, we had to tell them we just couldn't go this year.  It was a joy to finally be able to tell them that we were all going in just over a month.  Back to school blues went by the wayside and they were so happy they could hardly sleep.  This was one of the best gifts I could give them to arm  them with the courage to start another year of school with a very happy trip on the horizon to look forward to.

I am so grateful that I won this trip - I truly am.  I only wish everyone had the opportunity to go and experience the fun, happiness and excitement that the Nick Hotel has to offer families.  It's not what I would call a place to go and rest and relax - it is fast paced, fun, wild entertainment for the kids and the big kids too.   You just go-go-go because you don't want to miss out on anything!

Before I offer you the highlights of the 3 day trip, I will say this.  TWITTER PARTIES are worth it.  I am living proof that you can go 40 years without winning a stinkin' door prize at a raffle - but some day - your luck might change and you could find yourself plummeting down a waterslide compliments of NickMom.  So go for it - keep your eyes out of the next party and get in there and have some fun.  

Until next time - remember - sometimes good things really do happen to good people.
If you are wondering where the sun goes for vacation - look no more - it's almost always sunny at the NickHotel!

Top 10 Reasons to Stay at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, FL

1.   SpongeBob & Friends  - - Everywhere.

2.  Play & win prizes in the cleanest arcade around in The Mall. Seriously, this was one of my boys' favorite places to spend their in-between time.  It was constantly being wiped down by housekeeping. 
My boys had SO much fun in the arcade - and they kept it SPOTLESS.

3.  Have the time of your life on the awesome waterslides right outside your door! Hey - how did that frozen drink get in the photo?  *cough*   The waterslides varied so littles and bigs can enjoy the different slides.  I enjoyed just hanging out poolside as you can see.  Also, they are so obsessed with keeping the place clean, they have several times each day where they get everyone out of the pool to clean it.  I loved that they kept the resort incredibly clean.
Pay no attention to the frozen beverage in the foreground...

4.  See what it's like to be a contestant on Double Dare LIVE!  Two out of my three boys were picked from the audience to be a contestant.  It was SO much fun.  I don't think I have every laughed so hard in my entire life.  It really was a great time and I highly recommend it if you do go.
Youngest was a contestant on Double Dare and had to find a cherry in a pile of whipped cream before his opponent did!

5.  Rest easy in their huge themed suites with bunk beds for the kids.  They even had little nightlights right next to their pillow.  The suites were spacious and clean - and bonus - a coffeemaker in the kitchen!  Swoon.
The boys loved their Danny Phantom room with bunk beds and their very own tv with remote. 

6.  Have dinner with Ninja Turtles and learn the coolest moves around.  The TNMT dinner was a highlight for the boys who are huge fans.  They served an Italian style buffet dinner that was really tasty.
Dinner was DELICIOUS.  The turtles came to every single table.

7.  Family friendly EVERYTHING.  Seriously, it is just a very happy, bright, cheery place.
Everywhere the kids look, they will find their favorite Nick friends.

8.  FREE SHUTTLE to all four Disney Parks, Universal Studios, and several others! Trust me, having a free shuttle to these places was a huge perk because cabs cost money!

This was taken at Ollivanders at Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios). The boys picked out their interactive wands and had a blast using them all around the shops.

9. Games Everywhere.  When checking in at the lobby, there are ipads on the wall, slideshows, computer games, and plenty of things to do to keep them occupied when you are busy getting other things done!

In every waiting area there are fun things for kids to do!

10. The kids will love it!  My boys were on Cloud 9 the ENTIRE time we were there. There was always something to do and even the down time in the room was fun.
Sitting in Blue's thinking chair. Just Think. Think. Think.



Children of the Corn (Maze)

Every September we take a day and we vow to conquer the corn maze.  It's like some type of amnesia hits somewhere between last time and this time.  A renewed hope comes over us, along with a fresh perspective of how much fun the corn maze can be on a crisp fall day.  Today was the day for us.  The weather was gorgeous, everyone was happy and healthy and feeling great about the challenge, once again before us.  Had we forgotten how lost we got last year?  Yes.  Did we forget the freezing cold elements 2 years ago?  What cold?  Yes, we forgot.  Did we let slip from our memories the complaining as we neared hour 3 in the blistering hot sun only 3 years back?  Yes.  We forgot.  What I do recall is the fact that the stars must be aligned, the temperature must be between 67 and 72 degrees with a slight breeze, their bellies must be full, and there has to be something to keep their attention in order to guarantee a somewhat successful several mile hike through the stalks of the corn.

Anyhow.  Back to today.

As you can see it was an absolutely gorgeous, clear day.  The sun was shining and the air was neither cool nor hot - just perfect in every way.  Our attitudes were good and our outlook fresh.  We were ready.  The maze wasn't going to fool us this year.  We had too many years under our belts.  We'd been fooled before - this year would be our year to find all of the clues, all of the codes, and decipher all of the riddles to make our way back to the treasure waiting for us at the farmhouse.

The first few clues were easy.  We were led into a false sense of brilliance and know how.  We collected clues left and right and moved through the maze with ease.  I almost felt bad that it was too easy for our growing boys.  They were moving swiftly from post to post, and every move we made was correct.

Things took a turn at about a half hour in.  The corridor we thought we would remember when we made several right turns was not the same one we thought.  We found ourselves winding our way down the exact same wrong section several times over.  We were becoming weary.  It felt like a scene from National Lampoon's European Vacation.
 "hey kids, Big Ben, Parliament, again." 
At one hour in, we found a bridge.  It took us to another quadrant of wrong turns and repeat mistakes.  The sun grew stronger, the air became hotter, and the patience began to disappear.

"I'm wondering where the fun went."  my six year old said.

"I'm thirsty."  said seven.

So we stopped for a drink of water.  Everyone took a break and felt refreshed from getting hydrated.

My husband the engineer decided that he just knew this way  - (points to the right) would be the right way to go.  We followed.

Youngest was not pleased with the wrong turns.
Right turns turned into wrong turns, dead ends turned maddening - and I could swear I heard children crying not far away.  I overhead parents in other quadrants of the maze starting to crack.  "STOP COMPLAINING, IT'S A NICE DAY AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A GREAT TIME!" She left off the 'dammit' from the end of her sentence.   I winced in agreement to her statement and I turned to humor to salvage the kids' moods.   I began to tell them about the horror movie Children of the Corn.  I told them that kids who got lost in corn mazes ended up with a guy named Malachi as their master and had to sleep out in the fields every night with only field corn to munch on.  Of course then I started to divert my thoughts into who Malachi really looked like and decided he looked like that Olympian Shaun White (Tomato Head - err wait, we can't call him that anymore, right?)

(from Apparently, I am not the only one who has had this thought. How I love the internet.
Anyhow, I scared them so badly that they found a new energy to swiftly start collecting more clues to get the hell out of the cornfield were so many children were left behind to work in a sweatshop sewing clothes for scarecrows.   Oh, stop, I didn't scare them that much - they thought it was pretty fun every time I said I thought I heard a child crying from being caught by Malachi.  (There were plenty of kids at the maze crying so that was easy.)

How many thousands of corn stalks can you honestly walk by and say you know where you are going?  No one really knows where the hell they are going in a corn maze unless they have Google maps turned on and use GPS to get out.

We ran into another couple with three young boys and decided to commiserate. We cheated, okay? We swapped letters and codes as we smiled and nodded to each other in mutual understanding and sympathetic looks.  We had no one to help us but each other.  We had a new hope that we would, in fact, conquer this maze and the riddle and find our way back to the treasure soon.  "PIRATE'S BOOTY" their little boy cried.  "I WANT MY PIRATE'S BOOTY NOWWWW."  We turned and went back down our little quadrant and left the couple to deal with their child.  We couldn't let our kids smell fear and weakness.  We had to press on.

"We're lost in this corn maze.  We're going to be here forever aren't we?"  asked our seven year old.

As we approached hour three, it was official.  No one was actually having anything even remotely close to fun anymore.  We were hot, tired, had to pee from all of the water we drank at the 15, 000 water break stops we made, and it was time to GTFO of the corn maze.  We went to the top of the mini bridge in one of the quadrants and I took a long hard look at where we needed to be and decided if we were going to get out of here without becoming part of another Children of the Corn movie, I had to take the lead.

With (false) confidence, I said "follow me!"

I walked forward, fast and furiously, led merely by the terror of the weakening of my bladder and fear of peeing myself in the middle of the field.   The followed quietly.  I made several turns and only had to backtrack once - and boom...THIS.

"NICE JOB?"  is that all you have to say to me?  Pfft.

We made it back to the treasure chest and the boys had a new found energy in anticipation of what their prize for conquering the corn maze might be!  They entered the code found from deciphering the riddle and opened the lock.   They were now proud owners of their very own...wait for it...a plastic spider ring.

Can I get a slow, sarcastic clap?

Kind of reminds me of Ralphie when  he gets his decoder pen in the mail only to find an advertisement to Drink His Ovaltine.

 That's all for now.  And until next time, here are some tips for a great time on your next adventure through a corn maze!  xoxo ~DG


Sometimes A Picture is Worth A Thousand (Curse) Words

Well hello there - long time no see!  Thanks for coming to visit - it has been a while!  I have been so busy working in real life that I hardly have time to water my blog. I logged on only to find weeds in an overgrown garden.  Anyhow - hope all is well in your world!  I have some funny stuff to share with you today about Picture Day! 
If you've been with me for a while, you know there are few people I admire, adore, and that astonishes me more than the brilliant illustrator Adrienne Hedger of Hedger Humor.  So when a funny popped into my head, inspired by my boys, of course, I had to reach out to her to see if she could make my thoughts come to life.  She did more than that! She made it into this hilarious comic below and it is so easy to relate to I thought I'd get this blog dusted up and running again to share the giggles with you all.  It sparked memories of my own photo day follies - so here we go.  

Part of getting older is looking back at your past and seeing, coming to terms with, admitting, and accepting that you made mistakes.

Some of the biggest mistakes were on Picture Day.  See, there came a point late in grade school when I suddenly thought I knew better than my mom.

My mom was a beautician.  She was a trusted, skilled, schooled master in the art of beauty.  But she was my mom - what did she know about how to make ME beautiful?  She did the best she could to 'highly' advise against some of the things I wore and the way I wore my hair for Picture Day - even though, in the end, I did it my wayyyy.  The problem with Picture Day is that's it - it's done - it's recorded for life.  It may even grace the antique side tables at grandparents' houses, the refrigerator of every aunt, & even the walls of your childhood home in a size to really showoff your teenage pores.  Guests will come over for years to come and admire or in my case, let their jaw drop in horror over the poor choices that were made in that fateful half hour before the bus came to get you to school on the big day.

But wait - let's really go back to the beginning.  Preschool. 

My Preschool pics were lovely - complete with bobby pin in hair and matching dark green Garanimals.  Those were the hot item of the season you know. I still had a full set of baby teeth which really enhanced the cuteness of my smile.

Kindergarten was a decent year for me as well in an -everyone is cute at this age- sort of way.  My mom put me in pigtails with ribbons and some sort of Holly Hobby meets Oktoberfest frock.  Cringe away, but it was adorable at the time.  I had no idea that would be the final year of cuteness in my school photos...even lopsided ponytails and gaping holes where my teeth once were looked somewhat sweet.

My mom chose a Nautical theme for first grade.  I look like a sailor girl.  I have no photo to share, but trust me when I say it wasn't my best.

I think after many therapy sessions, I'm ready to talk about 2nd grade.  This was the year my dear mom decided she would set my hair the night before in pin curls.  Imagine winding up small sections of your hair, securing it to your scalp with 2 bobby pins, and sleeping on it all night only to wake up to hair up to my ears and as wide as the sea. I am posting my photo here for you to laugh at - and I have this - my doppelganger....Alice from Dilbert.

I have no recollection of 3rd grade and I think my survival instincts are to thank for that.

Moving on to 4th grade.

Annie was big that far be it from me to stray from that sort of iconic fashion role model.
I wore a red pinstriped blouse - a blouse - like an 80 year old candy striper would wear, mind you - with a solid white Annie collar and what appears to be a Texas tie gone wrong.

Tone it down, would you Annie?  It's too much for the 9 year old girl to keep up with.

Let me wipe my tears and we'll head into the really bad years.

I can't mention my fourth grade class photos without going down a dark alley of emotional pain and scarring.  So we'll skip 4th.

In 5th grade, collars were worn one way - and one way only...popped upward.  Candy colored stripes and Izods were the thing to wear.  So.  I wore a fuchsia striped Izod with the collar popped...the only big difference between me - and the cute preppy girls in my class?  My big fat Greek moustache.

I need a sip of my calming tea.

There - I'm ready for 6th grade.

Okay so 6th grade is when I started to decide that I knew best and my mom knew nothing.  I mean, she wouldn't let me buy the red leather 1000 zipper Michael Jackson jacket, or the expensive, already ripped, off-the-shoulder, inappropriate for my age Jennifer Beals Flashdance sweatshirt, and she also nixed the Culture Club hat with matching headbands of neon.  So I needed to take matters into my own hands for 5th grade. 

I would channel....
(I need everyone quiet for this please.)


I know you are wondering - which Madonna? There are so many!
I am sad to say, it was the black fishnet top clad, gummy bracelet wearin', huge black bow in hair stylin', large cross earrings - Madonna.

I came out in it only to shock and awe my mom - before shock and awe was even a thing.


We compromised.  I put on a pair of earrings that I can only describe as fishing lures - and put a BLUE izod on UNDER the fishnet top, popped the collar - and my mom shook her head and let me go.

My friends, that outfit didn't look nearly as cool as I thought it did.  In fact it was so bad, that I don't even know if I own a single copy of that photo as they were burned with some notes from an old crush.  Better off burned, I say.

In the mid 80s, I had a choice of which fashion icon to model my photo after.  I had

or Heart...

or Steve Perry...
At least I had the sideburns to really pull this look off.

 In the end I would end up looking like the product of a Steve Perry/Whitney Houston love child gone wrong.  Fast forward to the very bad hair karma of the late 80s and early 90s and you end up with this beauty of a Senior Picture done by a PROFESSIONAL.  Here - hold this grid.  Yes, that is perfect.  Oh and let's have a sharp glass rectangle-type prison shank looking as though it is falling and might impale you for dramatic effect.  The crinkled up paper on the backdrop is very much in style as well.

I give to you - my final wrong doing of my Picture Day follies - the Senior Pic.
Don't mind the glare from my cell phone - that's not the Holy Ghost or anything.  But getting back to the "What's wrong with this photo?" game.  Why would I wear a dolman - did I have 30 inches of arm to cover?  The flat herringbone gold chain screams early 90s, the hair is as hard as a rock, and those are eyebrows, not caterpillars - thankyouverymuch.

Besides Preschool and Kindergarten, there are no photos that I look back on with pride and joy. I am certain, now, at 41 years old, that I have ONLY MYSELF to blame - and I SHOULD'VE LISTENED TO MY MOTHER.  There, I said it.

So I will continue to micromanage my boys on picture day to prevent them from leading a life of photographical regret due to emotional and not-fully thought out decisions on the morning of picture day.  In a nutshell, just to recap,  no my love, you cannot wear your dirty soccer jersey from last night's game. 

Here are two of my boys this morning before they left for picture day.  How did I do?
Not too bad.  Only one bottle of hair gel lost its life in the making.
My babies...with faces like these - I ALMOST let them wear whatever crazy thing they picked out...soon enough, soon enough.

Big hugs - UNTIL NEXT TIME!  Say cheese! Or is it Cheese-y?
Bad Picture Days be damned - we turned out okay.

Check out my dear friend Adrienne and her hilarious comics at  Hedger Humor
on Facebook -
Twitter - @adriennehedger