Death By Folding Chair –The Perils Of A Graduation Audience

Death By Folding Chair – The Perils Of A Graduation Audience

by Gina Valley

So, you want to be a graduation audience member?  Let’s see if you’ve got the endurance, savvy, and possibly even stupidity necessary to make the grade.

Ahhh – the audience – that group of adoring fans that entertains delusions of homicideGraduation Audience human behavior wardrobe balloons speeches heat sun sunshine heat stroke folding chairs Humor Funny Parenting teens Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love as the ceremony plods along.  At least a lot of them are darn entertaining, even if it is for all the wrong reasons!

By the end of the ceremony those of us in the audience who have survived have bonded like hostages being held in the desert.  We are hesitant to leave our new found friends, and yet sick of the sight of each other.

A few questions pop into my mind as I consider that ragtag group of sweaty individuals sticking to the chairs behind the graduates.

Is there some reason that people understand they need to dress up to attend a graduation ceremony, but apparently think bras are optional?  If you are over 25 years or 120 pounds, you know that a bra is your friend, don’t you?  Do some of you more “gifted” guys realized this applies to your upper ailerons, as well?

You do realize people at graduations are bored and overheated, but not blind, right?  Why are you Graduation Audience human behavior wardrobe balloons speeches bras heat sun sunshine heat stroke folding chairs Humor Funny Parenting teens Moms Dads Kids children Family Life lovepunishing them?

Isn’t it bad enough that to graduate Junior has to sit there in an asbestos lined dress wearing a funny hat for 3 hours? Should he have to also suffer through having granny’s bobbing hooters knock over one of his friends?  Do you realize that kid could lose an eye?  Heck, don’t you think that everyone in a 50 foot radius is probably considering scratching theirs out?  Why don’t you get it together and rack ‘em up, or lock-n-load, or something?!?!  This isn’t the state fair, you know?

If you chose to wear low rise pants why didn’t you also choose to wear underwear? And, must you sit in front of me and bend over constantly?  Can’t you see the wisdom in having some secrets? Do you realize how hard it is to keep a 2 year old from tossing raisins into what looks like a perfectly good target from where she stands?

Instead of programs, why don’t they hand out deodorant to the audience members?  They know there won’t be a breeze, so isn’t it worth the effort even if it saves only a few lives?

And, if you’re the only one sitting in an audience of thousands holding a balloon bouquet, doesn’t it occur to you that something might be amiss with your celebratory gift choice?Graduation Audience human behavior wardrobe balloons speeches bras heat sun sunshine heat stroke folding chairs Humor Funny Parenting teens Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love  Do you realize those balloons are not transparent and the people around you don’t have x-ray vision to see through them? Do you realize the knives being thrown were half attempts to pop the balloons and half attempts to take you out of the gene pool?

You do understand that it’s standard protocol for me to snip the string of any balloon that smacks my head, right?  And, that if I’m smacked twice, I have the right to smack you with whatever I brought (FYI – I’m bringing bricks to the next graduation)?

Is there some reason those of you with air-horns, classy and elegant as those are at a University level function, have to point them at my ear prior to firing off that delightful, fun, audio enhancement?  Don’t you realize that I would keep my hearing and you would get better sound if you would raise it over your head?

And, once you’re seated, can you please stay seated?  What is the deal with the people that sit in the exact center of the 100 person long row and then climb out over everyone every ten minutes?  If your bladder is that small, shouldn’t you skip drinking, sit on the aisle, and possibly see an urologist?Graduation Audience human behavior wardrobe bull stampede balloons speeches bras heat sun sunshine heat stroke folding chairs Humor Funny Parenting teens Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love

When the endless ceremony ends, is there a chance we could maintain a little decorum?  Must you stampede out over other audience members the second the recessional is finished?  Did you think you were being chased by the bulls in Pamplona?

And, much as I hate to mention this because I found it extremely entertaining to watch each and every time it happened, I feel in the interest of public safety I must ask, “Is everyone now aware that we are sitting on folding chairs at graduations?”  Did you not think about what would happen to you when you stood on a folding chair to take a picture?  Are you familiar with the term “That’s gonna leave a mark!”?

Did you realize that your scream, the ensuing laughter from those around you, and the siren of the approaching EMT’s would drown out that sound of the graduates’ names being read? More importantly, did you not see the 11 other people who tried and epically failed at the same stunt you decided to have a go at prior to your grand chair adventure?  Did you really think you could succeed where they had failed?  Did they use the actual Jaws of Life to extract the chair from your body?

Is there some law of physics that requires that 2 and 4 year olds, who were hyper and cranky throughout the entire ceremony, must fall asleep as the last name is read?  And, what causes their body mass to swell to nearly 5000 lbs as we attempt to carry them on the 2 ½ mile trek to the car?  And, which car did we bring?

If I see another folding chair anytime soon I may have a post audience member traumatic episode.  Quick, someone get me some iced tea!

I’ve got some questions for The Graduates in my next post.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Laugh Out Loud!



My previous post was directed at The Platform Party at graduations.  Be sure to check it out.  I want your knowledge base and sarcastic attitude to be complete!

What is the dumbest thing you have seen in an audience?  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it, so please drop me a comment!

Just ‘Cause You’re At Graduation Doesn’t Mean You’re Smart

Just ‘Cause You’re At Graduation Doesn’t Mean You’re Smart

by Gina Valley

I’ve attended, well really suffered through and barely survived, but who wants to start off all negative, several graduation ceremonies during this year’s season of graduations. As a result, I have a few thoughts on the subject of graduation ceremonies.

Graduation is a uniquely strange honor ceremony because none of the honorees wants to be there. They have to be there. Their mothersGraduation Speakers Announcements speeches heat Humor Funny Parenting teens Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love Platform Party make them go. But, compelled attendance by maternal units is not the only uniquely strange part of this tradition.

I don’t want to appear bossy or judgmental. I am, but I don’t want to appear to be.  So, I’ll just ask some questions:

Let’s start with the people on the stage, or, as I have been told they are called by a very official looking guy with a rake at my son’s graduation ceremony, “The Platform Party.” They seem to be in charge of all the talking. And there is A LOT of talking!

Since most of you, all of you in fact except the one student up there, are not graduating, why did most of you in The Platform Party wear a robe? Are you being forced to wear that as punishment or a hazing of some type? And, what’s with all the weird hats? Did you think this was Hogwarts?

Those of you in suits looked nice, but did you consider that graduations always take place on the hottest day of the year and that you would appear to be a melted snowman by the end of the ceremony?

The one dude who was up there in holey jeans and a raunchy looking sport jacket – Dude – seriously? Were you just trying to look like a heroin addict? Did you cut those holes in the jeans specifically so we’d know what color your underwear was? (BTW, thanks for wearing some – not everyone attending did!)

Do we really need an announcement before the ceremony reminding us to put trash into the trash Graduation Speakers Announcements speeches heat trash can Humor Funny Parenting teens Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love Platform Partycans? Really? Gee, is that what trash cans are for? Isn’t that level of knowledge usually reserved for doctoral candidates? Is anyone else as thankful as I am for this helpful reminder?

How about the announcement to stay until the end of the ceremony, rather than just getting up to leave after your family member’s name is read? Is this really a problem? Is anyone that dumb? And, if they are, will this announcement actually have any effect on their behavior?

Is there some sort of epidemic of ceremony jumpers, who leave after the person they are interested in has done their part in ceremonies, sweeping our nation? Are friends of the bride jamming out of churches without waiting to hear from the groom, so they can get a jump on the reception? Are all the Art majors’ families seated at the Olive Garden before the psychology kids get to trip over the microphone cords running across the stage? Shouldn’t being stupid AND rude make it illegal for you to breed?

What’s with the token politician in the platform party? Do you realize I’m not going to vote for you because you’re up there? You didn’t happenGraduation Speakers Announcements speeches heat sun sunshine heat stroke Humor Funny Parenting teens Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love Platform Party to pay off our student loans or get us a good parking space, did you? Are you aware I can hardly remember my kid’s name because I am nearly having a heat stroke? Do you really think I’m going to remember you were here?

Do you want the votes of me and every other non-felon member of the audience to be cast in your favor? Then, why don’t you stand up and tell them to quit the yammering and read off the graduates names so we can all go inside?!?! Do you realize I have a two year old with me and she bites when she’s irritated? Can’t you help me out?

Is there some reason the introduction read about honorary degree recipients has to be TWICE as long as their acceptance speech? And, what exactly is twice of infinity? Are the recipients of honorary degrees attempting to speak for as much time as it would have taken them to actually earn the degree?

And, what’s the deal with these honorary degrees anyway? Don’t you think giving that to someone during the graduation ceremony is kind of a pie in the face to all the graduates there who actually had to study and attend classes for years to get their degrees, not to mention pay for them?

If you’re going to be speaking in any capacity, anything from introducing someone to giving the long (too long actually) commencement addressGraduation Speakers Announcements speeches heat trash can Humor Funny Parenting teens Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love Platform Party, don’t you think it might be a good idea if you read and maybe checked the pronunciation of the big words in your part? Aren’t you embarrassed when you have a doctorate in English and you pronounce “entrepreneur” wrong THREE times in under 3 minutes? It’s not pronounced like “trompe l’oeil,” you know?

And, if you are standing next to someone who has pronounced “entrepreneur” wrong BIG TIME, like unrecognizably wrong twice already, couldn’t you whisper the correct pronunciation into the poor woman’s ear so she can regain a teensy shred of dignity or at least get the audience to stop giggling?

Shouldn’t you, as the speaker, also be fairly familiar with and readily able to pronounce common or small words like “aids” or “location” correctly?

What’s with the commencement address? Doesn’t commence mean to begin? When is it going to end? Is it going to end? Is it just me, or does it feel like it is never going to end? And, what’s the point of this speech anyway? If the graduates haven’t learned something up until this point, isn’t it too late?

If you must name drop every “famous” person you have ever bumped into couldn’t you just list them off quickly and sit down rather than peppering a 45 minute diatribe about the unfairness of life (very uplifting, by the way, thank you!) with them? Can’t you as speaker remember the most basic rule of speaking at a graduation? (It’s shut up, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!!!)

I’ve got some questions for The Audience members in my next post.  I’ll hit The Graduates up after that.

I’ll see you there!

Laugh Out Loud!


What’s your favorite graduation horror, I mean, endearing story? I look forward to hearing about it, so please drop me a comment!

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

What They’re REALLY Asking …

What They’re REALLY Asking …

by Gina Valley

What’s on your head mom?

Sometimes it’s not what’s asked but rather who asks it that reveals the true query.

What’s on your head mom?

For example, yesterday a friend said someone asked him to describe himself in three words.  He asked me which three words I’d pick. I didn’t know which Humor Funny Parenting teens embarrass sunburn questions answers point-of-view Moms Dads Kids children Family Life lovethree words to pick because I wasn’t sure who was asking. The three words I think of as his friend are a bit different than the three words I’d use to describe his business savvy to potential clients or his personality to a potential date. “Who’s asking?” makes all the difference.  It defines the question.

What’s on your head mom?

What’s the real question?  Depends who’s asking.

From Son#1 “What’s on your head, Mom?” means “Mom, I think your mind might have slipped a gear because you have a stripe across your forehead.”

From Son#2 “What’s on your head, Mom?” means “Did you paint that stripe on there because we’re going to a game? Who’s playing? How much were the tickets? Do we have good seats?  When are we leaving?  Ooo! I gotta go put a jersey on!”

From Son#3 “What’s on your head, Mom?” means “Are you having some sort of cool allergic reaction to something that I could figure out and talk about during science at school? I’m gonna go get a camera!  This is gonna be another ‘A’ for sure!”

From Son#4 “What’s on your head, Mom?” means “Oh!! You were doing something, fun, weren’t you?!?! What totally cool thing were you doing Humor Funny Parenting teens embarrass sunburn questions answers point-of-view popsicle Moms Dads Kids children Family Life lovewhen that happened?  Can I do it, too?  What were you eating when you did that?  And, what’s for dinner ?  Can I eat something now?  Do we have popsicles?”

From Niece#1 “What’s on your head, Auntie G?” means “Auntie G, you’re not supposed to draw on your head.   Miss Johanna told me we aren’t supposed to draw on our head or our neck or our arms or our legs or our friends.  Kelley had to sit in time out because she drew on Williams head.  William was crying ‘cause he thought it was blood, but I don’t know why ‘cause it was blue marker.”

From Niece#2 “What dat on your head, Auntie G?” means “WHY dat on your head?  WHY dat red?  WHY dat there? Why? Why? Why?”

From Daughter#3 “What’s on your head, Mom?” means “As I look at your head, Mom, I notice something that I’m pretty sure I can leverage into a discussion to put off doing my homework for another 20 minutes, maybe longer if I really work at it.”

From Daughter#2 “What’s on your head, Mom?” means “I’m doing my best N OT to giggle, because  I refuse to admit to myself or to you that I find your antics amusing, despite the fact that my tiny dimples betray that I am doing everything I can to squelch a smile that is trying desperately to appear because I’m looking at that stripe and just know there is a funny reason it’s there.”

But, from Daughter#1, who is living deep in the jungles that are teenage-girl-hood and is the actual asker of the question, “What’s on your head, Mom?” can mean only one thing.  It means “How could you have something like that on your head when you know how much it’s going to embarrass me?”

And, that question kinda makes me laugh.  A lot.

Naturally, in an effort to ease her gently away from self-centered “teenagyness,” I told her that I had drawn it there with a Magic Marker for the sole and express purpose of embarrassing her.  Then, having observed her reaction, I reminded her that many teens every year get their eyes stuck in the back of their heads when they roll them one too many times at their parents.

In case you’re wondering what exactly was on my head, it was a bright red, inch wide stripe of sunburn running across the top of my forehead.

It did not look good.

I had schmeared some aloe vera gel across it to speed healing (isn’t aloe amazing?!?!) so it had a sort of snot-like sheen going for it, too.  It was VERY attractive. Humor Funny Parenting teens embarrass sunburn questions answers point-of-view popsicle aloe vera Moms Dads Kids children Family Life loveEven better, my nose was the only other part of my face exhibiting a coordinating crimson color.  Apparently, I had forgotten where my face ended and that I have a nose when I applied sunscreen before sitting in the sun at a track meet all day.  Did I mention how attractive I looked?

On this “What’s on your head, Mom?” day I was scheduled to meet an online friend face-to-face for the first time.  It really was a perfect day for it.  I told him, “Don’t worry, if it’s foggy you can find me by following the glow of my Rudolph-like nose until you see the snot schmeared, red stripe along the top of my forehead” (Not sure if it was courageousness or curiosity that drove him, but he was early for our meeting).

And, as if to prove my theory correct, Daughter#1 added as I got ready to go out the door, in what I can only assume was an attempt to make me giggle even more, “Do you want to borrow my cover stick to cover that up?”  I had to laugh at that because what she really meant was “I will die if you go outside with that showing on your head, Mom.”

I went anyway.

Don’t worry.  She survived!

Laugh Out Loud!


Do you remember your parents embarrassing you?  Did you ever embarrass them?  Do your kids pretend they don’t have parents?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

My Mom Is Better Than Your Mom!

My mom is better than your mom!

by Gina Valley

My mom is better than your mom!

I know it’s not a competition, but if it was, I’d win. Hands down. No problem.


Because my mom bakes a different cake everyday when we visit?

She does, but nope.

Because my mom makes pajamas for all of her 5 kids and 20 grandkids every Christmas?

She does this, too, but nope.

Because my mom is a cancer survivor?

She is, but nope.

So, why would I win?

Because years ago my mom found a rock that looks just like a baked potato and took it home with her. She’s kept that rock through the years and through moves across several states. And, she still puts it onto the tray when she bakes potatoes and serves it to unsuspecting guests.

You can’t beat a surprise baked potato rock.

And, you can’t beat my mom.

Happy Mothers’ Day, Mom! I love you!

Humor Funny Parenting baked potato rock cancer survivor cake competition Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love
Lavendar roses are my mom’s favorite! Mine, too!

Why You Should Hide The Chocolate Chips When You Need A Measuring Tape

Why You Should Hide The Chocolate Chips When You Need A Measuring Tape

I put a little pile of chocolate chips on a napkin (I’m a chocolate addict, but I’m neat about it) on the kitchen counter and was munching on them while I considered the kitchen’s current state.

I needed a measuring tape to re-measure the kitchen.  We are still in the midst of a never ending renovation and have misplaced (i.e. lost) the plans I designed years ago.  The Professor is just now getting around to executing the aforementioned plans, so we kind of need them.

Humor Funny Parenting measuring tape chocolate chips disorganization organization cookies Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love

I have no idea where the plans are.  He has no idea where the plans are.  The chances of said plans making an appearance before they are no longer needed is, at best, slim to none.  So, I’m going to redo the plans, meaning I have to re-measure the kitchen, meaning I need a measuring tape.

But, surprise, my measuring tape is not in the drawer where I keep it. <shock!>

Luckily, I remembered Son#4 had one of his dad’s measuring tapes two days ago because everyone was complaining that he kept measuring their feet.  Interestingly, they all complained about it, but everyone let him do it.  After all, who doesn’t want to know how long their foot is?

So, I asked Son#4, “Would you please get me one of daddy’s measuring tapes?”

“Are you making chocolate chip cookies?!?!” he asked, never one to be phased by a direct question.

“No,” I replied.  “I’m measuring the kitchen. Would you please get me one of daddy’s measuring tapes?”

“Yeah, mom, but do you wanna know what I am making for daddy?”  It’s Fathers’ Day next month, and there has been pounding and other construction noises coming from the side yard for quite some time.

“Yes,” I answered, “of course I do.  Then, will you please get me one of daddy’s measuring tapes?”  I asked specifically for The Professor’s measuring tape because one of our daughters used mine, walked in the general direction of the drawer it lives in, and somehow still didn’t get it put away properly.

“Yes!” Son#4 practically promised.

“Great!” I said, “What are you making for your dad?”

“I’m making him a catapult!  It’s got two pieces of wood under it (you have to imagine the detailed body language he used to illustrate every part of the contraption) and a piece that sticks out and a string you pull and I’m gonna make a bowl or something for the top and that is gonna be real hard but it is gonna be so cool!”

I couldn’t help but smile.  “Great.  He’ll love it,” I said.  He will.  He doesn’t have a catapult. “Now, will you please get me one of your daddy’s measuring tapes?”  He has several as his also tend to walk away and forget their way home.

“Yeah.  Are you making chocolate chip cookies?”Humor Funny Parenting measuring tape chocolate chips   disorganization organization cookies Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love

“No.  Well, ok, I will, but will you please go get me one of daddy’s measuring tapes?”

“Yeah.  I love chocolate chip cookies.”

“Great.  Will you get me the measuring tape?”

“Sure.  One of daddy’s?”


“OK.  Where is it?”

“Where ever you put it after you used it to measure everyone’s feet the other day.”

“That wasn’t me.”

Sigh. Wrong little boy.  It must have been Son#3.  “Oh.  Well, will you please send in your brother?”

“Sure.  Tell me when the cookies are ready.”

Less than a minute later Son#3 joined me in the kitchen.

“Will you please get me one of daddy’s measuring tapes?” I asked, well, pleaded really.

He answered right away, “Are you making cookies?”

Sigh. I know when to throw in the proverbial towel. “Yes, right after I get back from buying a measuring tape.”

“Cool! Tell me when they’re ready,” Son#3 called back as he headed out to their catapult construction site.

I passed The Professor coming into the kitchen as I was on my way out of it.

“Where’re you headed?” he asked.

“Hardware store,” I answered more gruffly than I needed to.

“Great!” he answered more cheerfully than he needed to. “While you’re there will you get me a measuring tape?”

I don’t think he saw me roll my eyes.

As I grabbed my keys and dashed out the front door, I heard him ask, “Hey, is mom making cookies?”

I wondered if I had time to stop by the liquor store, too.

Laugh Out Loud!


What is always “walking away” from where it goes in your home?  What is distracting to everyone in your family?  Does your crew sneak chocolate chips, too? Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Playing Hide & Seek … With Your Gardening Tools

Playing Hide & Seek … With Your Gardening Tools

by Gina Valley

This is the time of year when so many of us are busy sprucing up our gardens.  It is invaluable to have the right tools.   I recently came upon a supposedly helpful list of twenty-seven essential items to assemble prior to beginning to revitalize one’s garden for spring.  That’s right – TWENTY-SEVEN!

Humor Funny Parenting gardening tools finding hunting locating organization hide and seek shovel rake pruner gloves Martha Stewart Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love

The thing is, though, this list was clearly assembled by someone who lives in, well, an imaginary land where people speak “Martha Stewart” and put things away where they belong.

I don’t live there.  I don’t even live near there.

I figured many of you live in a crazy realm similar to the one I do, so I decided to adapt the list for us inhabitants of the real world.

I’ve whittled (you would not believe how long it took me to spell “whittled” correctly) the list down to the 4 most essential items, not including the phone numbers for the closest emergency room and bandage supplier.

Spring Garden Essentials Checklist:

(Don’t waste your time looking for any of these items where they belong.  You know they aren’t there.  As an experienced spring garden tool gatherer, I have provided some suggestions as to the most likely places to find them.)

A round point shovel – could be used for breaking up ground or for heavy digging and lifting if you could find it.  Probably it’s somewhere behind the garage where it was thrown two months ago after two of your sons got into an argument about who’s turn it was to pick up the dog doo, and Son#2 popped Son#3 on the head with it.

Son#2 was likely in a hurry to hide the evidence of his assault after the split in the skin above Son#3’s right eyebrow turned into something closely resembling a Venetian fountain. He likely tossed the shovel behind the garage because it was the nearest large, opaque object.  Fortunately, Son#3 had the good, although dripping, sense to rush to find you in the house, despite Son#2’s assurances that he would return shortly with duct tape to “fix him right up.”

A hand pruner – is great for snipping off small, dead branches, and is not actually intended to prune hands, despite the fact that it does seem to take pieces off someone’s finger every year.  It looks kinda like hefty scissors.  It is usually found near where a child was constructing a diorama of The Wind in the Willows at midnight the night before it was due.  After all,  she only had two months to work on it and couldn’t possibly be expected to finish the shoebox sized project, much less mention that she needed to do so, in that short time frame.

As last minute school projects cause the immediate disappearance of all scissors, she naturally had to use the hand pruners to cut out the construction paper river, wire tree stems, and cardboard willows.  The duct Humor Funny Parenting gardening tools finding hunting locating organization hide and seek shovel rake pruner gloves Martha Stewart Moms Dads Kids children Family Life lovetape is probably nearby as well, explaining why Son#2 was unable to find it to use to stem the tide from Son#3’s eyebrow, because glue sticks also spontaneously combust whenever a child is working on a school project after the stores close.

A leaf rake – is useful for raking up, you guessed it, leaves from the lawn or under shrubbery.  It has a wide “rakey” part at the end that, unfortunately, unscrews from the long handle.  The rakey part makes a great turkey tail or giant Mohawk and is usually found in the tree fort in the back yard or upstairs in the costume box.

The long handle is, unfortunately, quite a bit more difficult to locate.  Most years, The Professor just crawls around on our lawn muttering about how he knew he “…should have glued the bloody handle on!” as he rakes up the leaves with only the rakey part of the rake, after having searched the garage and yard fruitlessly for the handle.

The handle is a rare find, but can sometimes be located holding up the center of the blanket and chair fort in the living room or attached to the paint roller that was abandoned in the shower of the guest bathroom.  You might also want to check that space between the refrigerator and the wall, because it is sometimes used to retrieve AWOL Lego bricks from under the refrigerator.

A pair of gardening gloves – are very important to protect your hands while working in the yard.  They also work well as riding gloves while riding imaginary broncos made of picnic benches, as substitute hot pads when removing flaming roasted potatoes from the oven, and to get a grip on the radiator cap when the car is steaming mad.  Search accordingly.  Be sure that you locate at least three gloves, because if you only find two, they will be for the same hand.

After you’ve found these four basic items most of the day will probably be shot, so you won’t have any time, much less patience, left to work in your garden.  Be sure to hide them where your family can’t find them.  That way there’s a chance you’ll be able to use them next weekend.  Then, send yourself an email telling you where you put them, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll hide them where no one, not even you, can find them.

Happy Hunting…I mean…Gardening!

Laugh out loud!

– gina

What’s the most unusual place you’ve found a gardening essential?  Who puts stuff where it goes at in your neck of the woods?  Shoot me a comment.  I’d love to hear all about it!



It’s Different When Mom Gets Sick

It’s Different When Mom Gets Sick

by Gina Valley

It’s different when I get sick.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m the mom or because I’m the primary caregiver or because I have the bad timing to take ill when the planets are aligned funny.  But, whatever the cause, it’s different.  Definitely different.

When one of my pack gets sick, I take his temperature and bring him juice.

When I get sick I take my own temperature, and am woken up by pack members who want juice, but can’t locate it in theHumor Funny Parenting child point of view mom sick ill caregiving rest different Moms Dads Kids children Family Life love refrigerator.  Sometimes, they also want help locating the refrigerator.

When one of my pack gets sick, I put a clean, extra soft blanket into the dryer to warm it up for her.

When I get sick, my 4 year old uses the dryer to heat up her grilled cheese sandwich.

When one of my pack gets sick, I bring her meals to her in bed on a tray.

When I get sick, my pack assumes it’s “starve a fever AND starve a cold.”

When one of my pack gets sick I give him a chilled bottle of water with a sports top so he can drink without spilling while lying down in bed.

When I get sick, my pack runs the garden hose through my bedroom window to my bed so they won’t have to come up the stairs.

When one of my pack is sick, I bring her books, art supplies, and a portable DVD player to help her stay entertained.

When I get sick, my pack brings me buttons to sew back onto jackets, laundry to smell-check for re-wearing, and quizzes me about where their cleats and library books are currently located to keep me entertained.

When one of my pack gets sick, I keep the house quiet so he can sleep.

When I get sick, my pack takes turns waking me up every 15 minutes so I will feel like I’m in the hospital.

When one of my pack gets sick, I walk her down the stairs when she is feeling good enough to be up and about.

When I get sick, my pack panics when I start to feel like being up and about and asks me to give them a 30 minute warning before Humor Funny Parenting bulldozer child point of view mom sick ill caregiving rest different Moms Dads Kids children Family Life loveI come down the stairs, presumably so they’ll have time to call in a bulldozer to help tidy up.

When one of my pack gets sick I know he’s done being sick when all the extra sleep and focused nutrition have filled him with renewed energy.

When I get sick, I declare myself done being sick when the sleep-deprivation and concern for the state of my kitchen push me too close to the edge of permanent insanity.

When one of my pack has been sick and announces she is well, I tell her that I am so glad she is well, but that I want her to rest a bit extra for the next few days to get her strength back up.

When I have been sick and announce I am well, my pack tells me they’re hungry, the toilet is backed up, and they need to finish a report, including a full color 3-D poster, about Koalas before school the next morning.

It’s just a bit different when I get sick.

Laugh Out Loud!


How about you?  Is it different for you, too?  Tell me all about it.  Shoot me a comment with the details.

How To Make Ice Cubes – An Old Family Recipe

How To Make Ice Cubes – An Old Family Recipe

by Gina Valley

Like most people with a refrigerator with a built-in automatic ice maker, our automatic ice maker is beyond repair.  So, we’ve had to revert to making ice cubes the old-fashioned way.  And, by “we” I, of course, mean “me.”

I decided I better write down the recipe for this old family favorite after my husband, The Professor, explained to me that the football team of the cross town rival of his university no longer had ice in their Gatorade because the guy who knew the recipe had graduated.  I’d hate to think of such a tragedy visiting our family, as I am, judging by the perpetually empty trays, currently the only pack member who knows this secret recipe.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley How To Make Ice Cubes - An Old Family Recipe

So, here is the recipe, along with tips and techniques from my personal, real-life ice cube making experience.


  • Water – Any variety will work.  I prefer clear, but it’s really a personal choice.
  • Red wine, large bottle, good quality – I prefer a fine Cabernet Sauvignon, but use your favorite

Special Equipment:

  • Ice cube trays – double as many as you think you’ll need.
  • Freezer – plugged in, turned on, pre-cooled

Optional Equipment:

  • wine glass – if you drink from the bottle you won’t have to waste time washing the glass.


  • Pre-cool your freezer to below 32’F (0’C)  –  It helps if you plug it in.  We’ve tried freezing stuff in an unplugged freezer before.  It really doesn’t work very well.
  • Place ice cube trays on a flat, horizontal surface – This is usually the most difficult step in the recipe in households where children or fraternity brothers reside, as there is rarely an available even semi-horizontal surface of any kind.  A gas-powered leaf blower, garden rake, or frightened cat all work fairly well to rapidly clear off a surface.
  • Carefully pour water into each vessel of each ice cube tray to about the ¾ full point – Although not a fatal problem, overfilled ice cube trays will over flow, causing the ice cube tray to attach itself to whatever it is in contact with, be it the freezer shelf, last week’s chili, or the top layer of your wedding cake.  In the last case, in my experience, it comes very close to being fatal.
  • Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley How To Make Ice Cubes - An Old Family RecipeHalfway through filling the first tray, be prepared for your two year old to “help” you – She will surprise you by reaching higher than is physically possible for someone of such small stature and by moving quicker than light itself moves.  She will grab the tray you are filling, and rush out of the kitchen, while screaming, “I hep you! I hep you! I hep!” and disappearing down the corridor. Don’t worry she’ll be easy to find, just as mine was.
  • Follow the trail of water your 2 year old made on the new carpet in the corridor, the fragile wallpaper in the living room, and somehow on the 20 foot ceiling in the foyer.
  • Dry off the wallpaper first.  You’ll never be able to reach the ceiling anyway, and it’s already soaked through the carpet by now.
  • Let her keep the tray – Don’t even try to get the ice cube tray away from your little one.  She’s going to want to take it everywhere with her for the next week.  Mine slept with it, ate with it, and took it to preschool.
  • Return to the kitchen after you have dried off and reattached the wallpaper.   Fill up the remaining ice cube trays.
  • After you have carefully filled each and every vessel, carefully carry each ice cube tray to the sink or a nearby planter and dump out the water – This is necessary because while you were chasing your two year old, your cat jumped up on the counter to sprinkle fur into each of the vessels of each ice cube tray to provide that designer look to the cubes.
  • Next, you will need to refill the newly de-haired ice cube trays.
  • Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley How To Make Ice Cubes - An Old Family RecipeOnce filled, you will need to place the trays into the freezer – Many of my pack members have failed to absorb this important detail, choosing instead to attempt to freeze the ice cubes by leaving the trays (sometimes filled, sometimes not) on the counter for days. This has never worked at our house, but I suppose, were it cold enough, it might work in some.
  • Look both ways to check for kitchen traffic before proceeding to cross the kitchen to place the trays into your freezer – Carrying filled, unfrozen ice cube trays attracts a kitchen crowd even quicker than trying to wrestle that mammoth Thanksgiving turkey out of the oven does.
  • Now comes the tricky step – Unfortunately, in her haste to escape, your 2 year old has undoubtedly left a nearly invisible trap for you in the form of a pool of potential ice forming water on the floor in front of your freezer.  You will slip.  You will slide.   You will flail your arms about causing the water in the trays to be dispersed in a precipitation like manner throughout your kitchen.  But, and you will congratulate yourself for this, you will not fall because of that puddle.
  • You will nearly recover your balance – But, unfortunately that will occur in the exact moment that the ice cube tray generated precipitation reaches your cat.
  • And, just as you are congratulating yourself for your cat like reflexes that kept you from falling, your cat will use his to seek shelter from the falling water in between your feet, causing you to accidentally step on either his paw or tail (I’m not sure which now; it’s all kind of a blur of fur, screeching, and claws). This foot-upon-cat condition will cause your cat to feel the need to express his displeasure with having one of his body parts stomped on by screaming and climbing up your leg.
  • Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley How To Make Ice Cubes - An Old Family RecipeThat’s when you’ll fall.
  • Your two year old will be standing over you with a box of bandages when you open your eyes.  She will ask repeatedly, “You got boo-boo? Huh? You got boo-boo?”  Your Labrador will be looking in through the window in the back door with an expression that clearly means, “I told you that dang cat was trouble.”  And, the cat will be back on the counter shaking his head and rolling his eyes in disgust at your inability to stick the landing.
  • As you lay there on the floor waiting for the world to stop spinning you will curse the cat and curse the stupid plastic ice cube trays and curse the bloody repairman who said it wasn’t worth the money to fix the ice maker.  As you painfully drag yourself up to your feet you will even curse ice itself, but then take it back as you remember your love of ice hockey.
  • Then, you will growl at your mocking cat, scoop up your helpful two year old, and head for the car.  You will drive seven blocks to nearest convenience store, shell out $5 for a 10 lb bag of ice you, in theory, could have made at home for free.  You will then return home, shove the bag of ice into the freezer, switch on Dora for your two year old, and open your wine.

As you plop down on the sofa next to your two year old and sip your wine, you will remind yourself that wine really is essential to all good family recipes.  And, you’ll make a mental note to start with the last step of this recipe first next time.

Laugh Out Loud!


What are your favorite family recipes?  I’d love to hear about them!  Shoot me a comment before it’s time to mop something up again.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission