The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round… And after a field trip on the big, yellow school bus, Pippi’s head was spinning round and round.
The next time you volunteer on your child’s field trip and ride the bus, here are seven tips to make things go a little smoother:
Don’t sit at the back of the bus. Even if all the cool kids do it.
Pack a snack and eat it illegally. Even if the boys in front of you smell your banana and then your protein bar and yell, “I’m telling!” Yeah, who are you going to tell? I’m, like, a chaperone and a grown up.
Don’t look down at your phone and text or Tweet about how you’re getting carsick. It will only get you carsicker.
Wear a sports bra. The shocks on the bus are missing. And the kid sitting behind you will be kicking the back of your seat. The whole entire trip there. And back again.
Bring an ice pack. Bring an ice pack for your forehead. The bus is filled with sweaty kids. They steam up the windows. And it’s raining outside so you can’t open them for fresh air or else the little girls will freak that they are getting rained on.
Wear comfy clothes. They cram three bodies per bench seat, when two bodies would be more than sufficient.
Shut the Front (bus) Door! As in, the noise is deafening.
Despite these tips, my belly was churning and my head was dizzy. It took me 24 hours to recover from my school bus hangover. Check out this video for a teensy preview of your next chaperoning experience.
I have been around the Thanksgiving table, so to speak, many times. I have hosted Thanksgiving many times. Even to my own mother and to my in-laws (gasp!) And they are particular….wonder where I get it from?
I have learned a few things that you probably do NOT want to do when hosting Thanksgiving.
Don’t try to channel Martha Stewart. But do steal some of her tips and recipes. Martha is a kitchen fairy with lots of helpers. We copied her last year with her Pureed Butternut Squash recipe. And let me tell you, it was delicious and tasty. But it was a lot of work and you had to stir it constantly. And it took up a whole burner on the stove for hours. And ya know what, the kids hated it. Said it looked like throw up. It just was not worth the hassle for the few compliments it did generate. But if you are stubborn–and I know some of you are–here is the recipe.
Don’t skimp on the pie. If you just have one pumpkin pie to share among everyone at the table: you suck. My motto and ratio for hosting: one pie per person. And who says only apple? We did apple and pecan and I just might do chocolate cream. Who says? Here’s Pesky Pippi’s Perfect Pecan Pie–I mean Martha’s recipe:
Don’t forget to take OUT the bag of giblets before cook your turkey. And don’t try to hide them in the stuffing or the gravy. I’ll heat them up for my dog, Lucy, but they are still simply repulsive to look at and eat. In my book.
Don’t guess how long to cook a turkey; be precise. Buy a thermometer. This is not a good time to spread salmonella or E. coli. We have gone for years guessing. Hmmm, done yet? How about now? And then we have wound up with some well-cooked turkey, that’s for sure. Pass me a glass of water to wash it down (choking).
Don’t dis the orange-carrot-pineapple Jell-O mold. Traditions are awesome. And this colorful dish kicks ass.
Don’t be shy about offering several kinds of cranberry. My husband and kids love the smooth, formed kind from the can. My father-in-law likes the chunky kind from the can. My mother and I like the cranberry relish my grandmother used to make. You chop up a bag of fresh cranberries, add bits of fresh oranges, chopped pecans, and sugar to taste. Set it aside the morning of (or the night before). It’s beautiful and fresh. I cannot have Thanksgiving without it.
Don’t forget to let the rolls rise…early. Craptastic: last year I bought fancy rolls instead of the crescent rolls that you bake in like seven minutes. I thought, oh, I’ll just throw them in the oven at the last minute. Come to find out, they required rising and sitting and rising and… So at Thanksgiving last year? No rolls.
Don’t dump flour into the turkey drippings and expect beautiful, lumpless gravy. Now, this I learned from–again–Martha. She told me to make a roux. As in, take a little bit of turkey drippings into a separate bowl, add a bit flour to help thicken, stir, THEN add into the pan of drippings and heat. I have made Pesky Pippi’s Perfect Gravy without fail every time. So good, just give me a straw! Oh, and throw in onions, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery in with the turkey while baking. And the flavors sorta ooze into the drippings. (Another Martha tip.)
Don’t send guests home with leftovers. Hello, turkey sandwiches on Friday!
Don’t stress too hard. I actually HATE when people tell me this, because I am a stresser. But you are not Martha Stewart–unless Ms. Stewart, you are reading this–and it’s more about togetherness than if the gravy has horrific lumps.
Don’t forget to partake. Anything goes great with turkey: wine, beer, beer, wine. And with the pressures of cooking and serving and worrying, “Dang, did I overcook the turkey AGAIN?” it’s also time to chill and be with family and friends.
Don’t forget to lighten up. The most important thing: be thankful that you have food on the table and you have loved ones to share it with. Regardless of how it looks or how it tastes. Remember how Charlie Brown had toast at his Thanksgiving spread?
Sure. Disregard comments from naysayers. And don’t listen to friends-who-aren’t-really-your-friends. But don’t discount your kids’ advice when it comes to fashion for Mom. They just might know what they are talking about.
After all, don’t children just want their Moms be their best and look their best? A confident mother who is pretty inside-and-out?
I listen. Here is what I’ve been told lately:
“Mom, you need to wear tighter jeans. Yours are too baggy.” Ah, the workouts just might be working. It’s important to show off your shape; not hide it. Time to go shopping.
“Mom, that lipstick is too brown.” Good point. My skin has blue undertones, meaning berry and pinky reds are better for my skin tone.
“Mom, don’t buy brown pants. They are ugly.” Indeed, khaki is great on safari, but not so great on me. Point well taken.
“Mom, I like you better with shorter hair. Your long hair made you look crazy.” Hmmm. Sometimes you don’t know if a compliment is a compliment or if is a rip. But, I’ll go with it. And maybe my shorter hair makes me sassier? Peskier?
“Mom, that floral, peasant top is really ugly.” OK. Maybe I did think that prints help to camouflage, but maybe solids are indeed better for me. Plus, I am not a peasant.
“Mom, that sweater looks a little dorky.” Hmm. Maybe I was sporting a tired, old Mr.-Rogers’-Neighborhood-cardigan. Off to Goodwill it went. Hello, J. Lo sweater! (She will always be J. Lo to me.)
Kids are smart. Give them credit. Make some changes. Change is good.
Does this outfit/dress/blouse/sweater/pair of jeans/jacket make me look fat?
Chances are. Yes. We know when we look in the mirror if we are feeling confident with our looks and our choices in outfits. So why do we waste our time asking our husbands/boyfriends/partners if we look fat or not.
If your buttons are gaping; your sleeves dig into your arms; your muffin top runneth over; or you’re just not skinny enough for skinny jeans, then don’t even ask.
Do we really need men to validate our looks and reassure us (even with a fake), “Nah, Sweetie, you look GREAT.” Yeah, kinda.
Here are six more questions that should just be left unasked:
Do I have more wrinkles than last year?
Do you like my hair better short or long?
Where do you want to go for dinner?
Do you think the banana bread was dry?
How do you like the new outfit I just bought?
I bought a new lamp. Do you like it?
Why bring attention to inferior beauty problems? Why focus on the negatives? Why call attention to the extra money spent?
Instead, look in the mirror and smile at yourself. And answer your own questions:
Put on the wrinkle cream in private.
Wear that new hairstyle with sass—whether short or long.
Pick a restaurant that serves beer on draught; he’ll be happy.
If you think the banana bread is dry, smear a little butter on it and maybe some peach jam and serve it with a smile. And a glass of water.
Wear the new outfit with confidence and save the “outfit talk” for your girlfriends.
Give the old lamp to Goodwill. Without a word. He may not even notice.
Some of this “talky talk” is better saved for girlfriends. Or not. Sometimes you may not really want to know what they really think either.
I energetically mother three children: 14, 10, and 8, am married to my college sweetheart, and have two dogs. My life is full of laughs. eye rolls, love, and laundry. I'm friendly and genuine and blog about my bumbling life.