Going on an Egg Hunt


The flowers, the rain, the mad dash toward neon plastic eggs filled with candy!

Yes, folks, I’m talking about a good, old-fashioned Easter Egg Hunt!

We have been to egg hunts before, but this one was by far the biggest! They had the kids separated by age, so Big and the Ranger went one direction to the basketball court and Baby and I went the other way to the skate park.

Someone, in their infinite wisdom, decided to hold all the 4-6 year olds in a place with skateboard ramps while waiting for the hunt to start.

Kids were running up the ramps, then turn around and run pell-mell the other direction.

“Mama, I got runned over!” Baby told me at one point.

I now understand why we had to sign an injury waiver in order to participate in the egg hunt. I had pictured a Black Friday situation with kids pushing, shoving and saying, “I had that first!” But, no, it was so when my child broke her arm jumping from the top of a ramp, I wouldn’t be able to sue.

Baby got in her fair share of jumping off skateboard ramps herself.

That thing flying over her head – it’s not just a parachute; it’s a Redneck Easter Basket!

Most egg hunts I’ve been to start early. You pull up just in time for the egg hunt only to find out that it’s already over. This particular hunt started 15 minutes late. The kids got a little bored.

And then, it was on!

I’ve decided that finding my child in an egg hunt is like playing a real life game of “Where’s Waldo?”. How many times can you find the girl in the little, purple dress?

I asked her later why she felt the need to go throughout the entire field instead of staying in one area. “Because I wanted the pink, purple and blue eggs, Mama,” she explained.

It was a good day for an Easter Egg Hunt. So good, in fact, the girls have been playing Egg Hunt all afternoon with the empty plastic eggs.


Substitute v. Students

Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. The topic I chose is #3, “Something Students These Days Should Know.” However I wrote it from the view of what I think they should know about this substitute teacher. Sorry, no pictures today.

Yes, I am a librarian, but I also substitute teach.

I have substitute taught off and on for about 3 years, and I really like it! Not enough to have my own classroom, but enough to keep doing it.

I have taken workshops on being an effective substitute teacher, and I have bought guidebooks with possible lesson plans and tips.

I take it very seriously.

I am not there to babysit the students in the class; I am there to continue their education and to implement the lesson plan their teacher has in place. If no lesson plan is in place, I will pull out my Handy-Dandy little file out of my Sub Bag and go to town. With some sort of lesson or assignment, usually something involving writing, to keep my students occupied for at least five minutes.

I substitute teach for all grades from Pre-K through 12th. The younger kids are so very sweet! The older kids are cooler than I ever was or could hope to be. However, this particular list is aimed toward the older crowd.

Something High School students today should know…from the point of view of your Substitute Teacher.

  1. I am not there for your entertainment. I do not juggle…well. I am not a comedienne. Seriously! No one can kill the punch line of a joke faster than I can! The funniest part of my jokes is me trying to remember exactly how the punch line goes!
  2. When I give you an assignment it is NOT a suggestion. Unless there is no lesson plan available, the assignments I give you are coming from your teacher and I am just the one giving you the bad news. If a teacher knows they will be absent they give LOTS of work in the attempts to keep you from sending me straight from your classroom and into a bar!
  3. I am not going to delude myself that you are actually acting the same way you would if your regular teacher were in the room.
  4. I KNOW you are going to act up, it’s a longstanding right and ritual among students to expect they will get away with a bit more mischief with a substitute than with their regular teacher. However, there’s mischief and then there’s going way beyond!
  5. I am not there for your entertainment. (please refer to #1). It is not advisable for you to pelt me with papers, to throw candy around the room (unless you are sharing with me), turn on the radio, etc. All this will do is force me to call the office and request you be removed from my room. It usually only takes one student, then the rest get the idea.
  6. Sticks and stones and all the rest, the writing assignment you turn in noting that you hope a dog urinates on me just makes me happy you know how to spell urinate correctly.
  7. I am a librarian, with a degree and everything that says I am a librarian. This means that I am classically trained in the art of “SHUSH-ING” you.
  8. The phrase, “If you are talking, the people around you cannot hear what I am saying,” really means SHUT UP!
  9. I do not negotiate with terrorists or high school students, however, I may offer you a deal. I am not above bribery. You pay attention, do your work, follow the rules and you might just get rewarded. I buy Jolly Rancher candies by the 3lb bags. If you don’t follow the rules I have the ability to impose a SILENT STUDY HALL! Mwahahahahaha…POWER!
  10. I do not have all the answers, but I DO have an answer key! At least you better hope I do, ’cause my degrees are in history and libraries which means I do not excel in science or math, especially at the high school level. But I will do my best.
  11. Your teacher may not be in the classroom, but they left the world’s biggest TATTLETALE in their place. I do leave a highly detailed note for the teacher outlining every aspect of my day in their classroom – what we accomplished, what we did not accomplish and why, every absence, every student who leaves and for how long, and (depending on the day) every class or student who gives me an unusual amount of grief.

I actually ENJOY teaching high school and even *GASP* middle school. I must be crazy.

M-I-SS-I-SS-I-PP-I River

Every once in awhile the Accidental family loads up Suki our Suzuki and off we go exploring this new land of Tennessee.


Okay, so what we do isn’t much of a Road Trip, but it usually makes a nice Day Trip.

On this particular Saturday, a week or so ago, we decided to take the girls to see the Mississippi River. I would like to know who came up with the name Mississippi, ’cause it’s kinda a fun word that just rolls off the tongue. Although it just doesn’t flow the way Roll on Columbia, Roll on does…

It was only a couple hours away; so we gathered the kiddo’s, a camera, and a CD and off we went.

Now, Big has seen the Mississippi before but not to remember it. My Mama and Daddy lived in New Orleans for awhile and they lived in Germantown, TN for awhile and we saw the river both times. Baby DEFINITELY wouldn’t remember the river.

This was our first trip to the river that wasn’t in or along a city, and while we weren’t expecting much we did find the remains of a nice little park and a closed road.

So, we did what everyone else did, we pulled off the road and walked through the remaining silt so we could sit in the abandoned park and watch the “Muddy Mississippi” flow by and move barges up and down the river.

Baby was going to play a game of “Pooh Sticks” but this Mama wouldn’t let her get that close to the water (the current was moving pretty fast here). Instead we looked for rocks to skip. They thunked more than they skipped, but it was fun trying!

It was windy. Baby had to hold down her dress do she wouldn’t “flash” Missouri. We had a geography lesson and a social studies lesson. We looked for birds. We enjoyed the sun and the breeze. We got in the car and headed back toward Reelfoot Lake, but that’s another blog for another time.

I wonder where we will go next time we explore our new state?

Neurotic Mama, Cured?

I am proud of myself, yes I am!

I am a self-professed, overly neurotic Mama.

I have been this way since before my children actually entered this world.

“Excuse me, but there are five other women with my name in the immediate area, how will you know it is really me trying to leave the hospital with my baby and not one of them.”

I swear the Ranger did a slow hand slap to the forehead every time I opened my mouth during that last month of pregnancy.

I did not leave my child with ANYONE other than the Ranger until she was over a year old, and then only for a few short hours at a time.

My problem became obvious to family when I used a Sharpie to write Big’s name, hometown and G-Ma’s phone number across the bum of her Onesie the first time we flew together. She was 9 months old.

Today, my kids actually have heart shaped dog tags with their names, home town, Mama’s name and phone number. They have these tags so when we travel or they are on a school trip they have a way of finding me if they get lost. Big no longer wears hers around her neck, we loop it around a belt loop and it goes in her pocket. Baby requests her necklace because it is BEAUTIFUL!

I think one of my biggest fears in parenthood is my child being missing.

Some people think I should just get over it. I think they should leave me alone. I’m getting there…baby steps, but I’m getting there!

Back to why I’m proud of myself.

So, Baby joined the after school fitness program at her elementary school. She likes being fit! There is no late bus for elementary school, and it was explained that I would need to pick her up from school. No problem-O!

She’s 6, so I went over and over with her that she was not taking the bus to AfterCare after school. She was to go to the gymnasium for fitness and then I would pick her up. Yesterday was the first day.

I went to pick her up. I sat in the pick-up line. I got to the front of the line and asked for my child.

She wasn’t standing in line. I had assumed she was in the gym still. I was wrong.

She wasn’t there. Where was my Baby! My Baby was missing! The teacher had no clue where she was. She was not in the gym. She had not been to the gym. She didn’t come home on the bus, I was at home when the bus came.


I didn’t scream at the teacher. I didn’t burst into tears and demand they call the police. My Baby was missing! She had to be scared. She had to be confused. She had to be at AfterCare.

So, I tried calling AfterCare Director who is also our neighbor, no answer.


I jumped in my Suki and off I went across town to AfterCare where I walk in and there she sat in her bright purple pants and bright red shirt doing homework with a volunteer.

“Baby, where are you supposed to be?”


She looked confused all right. She was right where she goes every day after school. She was doing what she does every day when she gets to AfterCare.

“I went to the gym to get you and you weren’t there. Why weren’t you there?”

The tears start at this point (hers not mine). Now she’s upset, she didn’t get to be fit and instead of comforting myself over my mini heart attack I end up comforting the cause of that attack who missed her fun time.

I think I have turned a page. I didn’t COMPLETELY freak that she wasn’t where she should have been. I very calmly (with lots of cleansing breaths) figured where she would be and went to that location to double check.

Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m going to throw out their name tags, but I did let Big play outside today by herself without standing in the window to supervise.

Baby steps…


Atlanta on the Cheap-ish

We had a new experience a few weeks ago, something that was new to our children since moving from PA to TN.

Spring Break.

When I found out the girls were having Spring Break I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how what kind of trouble we could get into that week! Then when I found out that, that same week the Ranger had a training in Atlanta I thought, “Hmmm, we’ve never been there before.” One of the perks of the Ranger having a training is that it affords the rest of the family a free hotel room (yes, we got approval from the company for us to stay in his room) for the duration.

We have to pay for everything except the room, but I’m an accomplished “on the cheap” traveler.

Apparently my children have fairly cheap tastes themselves (so long as it includes a gift shop or playground).

So, here is my guide to Atlanta on the Cheap(-ish).

  1. Travel with spouse who already has a prepaid hotel room. This will save you lots of money and you will probably get a nicer hotel room that you would have sprung for (at least it was nicer than I would have paid for out of my personal budget). The view was pretty incredible!

2. Drive if is within driving distance and cost effective. For us it was.


3. Go to the playground at the Olympic Park.

4. Go to the National Center for Puppetry on Thursday afternoon when it’s free. There was a huge display of Jim Henson puppets including Big Bird, Kermit, Fraggles, Doozers, Ernie, Dr. Teeth, Sam the Dog, and characters from Labyrinth and the Dark Crystal. It does not take long to tour, so be sure to go on the free afternoon. Unfortunately, they would not let us take pictures inside the museum. But, they did have a gift shop!

5. Go back to the playground.

6. Get a CityPass and go to the aquarium, see the animals and get a squished penny.

7. Go back to the playground.

8. Go to the Fernbank Natural History Museum (using CityPass) to see the dinosaurs and get a squished penny.

9. Go back to the playground.

10. Eat at CNN and get a squished penny.

11. Look at sculptures surrounding playground. (I actually have met this artist, Peter Calaboyias, visited his studio and hung one of his exhibits).

12. Then, go back to the playground.

13. Visit the Coke Museum (using CityPass), see the Coca Cola Bear, visit the tasting room and get a squished penny. Big is the only person I’ve ever met who would go to the Coke Museum and have a taste of WATER in their tasting room. Big doesn’t like soda or flavored water and didn’t want any juice. Sigh. She just doesn’t understand that Coca Cola is the elixir of life!

14. Head back to the playground.


15. Go to the ZOO (using the CityPass) to see Panda Bears and get a squished penny! Big LOVES Panda Bears. They are her favorite animals!


16. And then make one more visit to the playground before heading home.

If you read everything, instead of just looking at the pictures, you might have noticed 2 major repeats – the playground and squished pennies. I swear we could have bypassed everything else and just spent the week at that playground! And, squished pennies are this Cheap-O Mama’s dream souvenir (especially since their Uncle Bubba got my girls each a special folder to keep their pennies in). 

Anywho, there you have it, the Accidental Family went to Atlanta and all they brought you was their guide to (attempting to) do it on the cheap!

Biscuits for Big

I am perplexed.

It is not an unusual state for me, but still…

When I was growing up, we lived in the middle of nowhere – Pop. 52 if you included the cows. We participated in 4-H. We had cows, we had chickens; I had a pig. Her name was Pennellippy. Together we won a Blue Ribbon for having a good attitude. Together we won Best of Show because she was AWESOME. I was happy she was sold as a sow rather than bacon.

I digress.

Middle of nowhere kids do things like 4-H.

So, we moved to Tennessee. We live in town. We have no cows, chickens or pigs. We have a fat cat and a skinny cat. We have ants. We are doing 4-H. Rather Big and her entire 5th grade class in her CITY school district are doing 4-H. I’m perplexed. I’m happy about it, but confused.

Anywho, this year Big has written a speech about someone she admires (the Ranger), she has taken photographs (she received a red ribbon at the county level for this photo – I’m so proud),

…she has recycled an old soup can into something functional (a pencil holder), and most recently she has baked biscuits.

Please keep in mind that Big can make a mean bag of microwave popcorn, microwave pancakes, microwave hot dogs (do you see a theme here?); but the conventional cooking lessons have not really happened yet. The girl is only 10!

So, first we are a bit intimidated. We just moved to the South, an area renowned for their biscuits! We did what any self respecting non-cook would do, we glanced at the pop can biscuits and slowly moved away before we could be tempted to use those!

I searched for a recipe that looked beginner-ish, then together Big and I made the initial batch of biscuits. It was a slow process with me demonstrating and her doing. It was really hard not to take it over, but I just took a deep breath and stepped back.

She was over the moon when she came home to tell me that she was one of three students in her classroom to be chosen to move on to the county level competition. So, we marked our calendar for the due date and went about our merry business.

Then we went to Atlanta. Then we came home. Then we went roller skating with the rest of the D.A.R.E. graduates. Then I realized that the biscuits were supposed to be submitted the next morning! Then I realized that I didn’t have all the ingredients we needed! Did you know that at 8 o’clock at night, lemon juice is an acceptable substitute to cream of tartar?

So I observed. I moved Baby out of the way. I gave suggestions. I poured the new gallon of milk so we wouldn’t have to clean it up.

But, in the end, Big has some perfectly edible (although slightly tart) biscuits to turn in. We haven’t heard back from the county competition yet, but we’re not that concerned. Big was happy to make biscuits and I was happy that I managed to observe and not take over the project.

Country Biscuits Supreme (from Gooseberry Patch: Comfort Foods cookbook, pg. 67).

2 C all-purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cream of tartar (or lemon juice)

2 tsp sugar

½ C shortening

2/3 C milk

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk; stir until just moistened (this was where I added lemon juice). Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently for about 30 seconds. Roll out to ½ in thick; cut with biscuit cutter. Arrange biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Makes 12 to 15 biscuits.

Gonna Be a Rock STAR!

Today I am participating in Wordful / Wordless Wednesday with ParentingBYDummies.


Just ask her.

She doesn’t want to be any particular Rock / Country star. She is just her own star.

She LOVES Taylor Swift, Hannah Montana (NOT Miley Cyrus), Amanda Cosgrove and Selena Gomez. The norm for 6-yrs old. She also LOVES the Beatles, Barbara, Frank, Bing, Dean, Elvis and Dylan.

Anywho, I digress.

Every night, Baby lays out her clothes for the next day. She “picks” a theme of how she would like to look. And then she “picks” her outfit and lays it out on the floor like she is dressing and invisible her that is flat and lying on the floor, complete with accessories.

Last week she wanted to look like a Rock Star!

Today she wanted to look like a guitar player.

She didn’t think she succeeded.

I think she did just fine.

What do you think?