Recipe for a Breakdown

Loosing your s**t in public is equal parts cathartic, trashy, humbling and embarrassing. Sounds pretty good, right?

If you ever want to completely lose your s**t in public like I did the other day, there’s a 10-step process to follow:

1. Start off the day with a headache that 2 Advil, 2 Excedrin and 2 Tylenol can not conquer. Then, hope that your 6-year-old screams at you for making him go to school.

2. Layer upon the above ingredient a marathon day of entertaining a preschooler who could care less that your head (and now stomach) feels like it will implode.

3. When your 6YO gets home from school, tell him to put on his cleats for soccer practice. Hide so you don’t get hit with flying objects thrown by the hater of soccer practice.

4. Next, cave in to your children’s demands to take them to their cousin’s house after soccer, to play and have pizza. And dessert. Lots of dessert.

5. Now, only if you feel seriously ill and your kids are over-tired and over-sugared, take them to a 7pm fair at school and stuff more sugar in their pie holes.

6. In a 450-degree cafeteria, sweat profusely and watch as your children spin like tops while sporting dirty, sugary blue/brown streaks on their faces.

7. Now, smile to the crowd like you don’t have a care in the world. But when you see your kids crying, fighting and rolling on the cafeteria floor, it’s time to loose your s**t.

8. Scream at them in a low psycho-growl that you think only they can hear. Rip the ring pops off their fingers and shove the kids out the door. Pretend you don’t see the terrified looks on the other kids faces — the kids who overheard the psycho-growl.

9. Get home and uncork a bottle of chardonnay. Drink one glass before making eye contact with anyone.

10. Get the kids in bed as quickly as possible. Brushing teeth is an optional ingredient in this recipe. Focus on PJs and lights off. And a kiss and a hug, of course. Because you know it wasn’t really their fault that you lost your s**t.

Sorry for the breakdown, boys. Mommy loves you very much.

Happiness is a HoJo’s Cake Roll

index

Ridiculously mouthwatering image from hershey’s.com

I love that I was a child in the seventies. It was a time when having fun in no way required batteries or being plugged in. As a kid I played with stuffed animals until their button eyes fell off and their synthetic fur turned gray. I also loved making chocolate “cakes” outdoors, with mud and rain water and acorns and cold wet hands.

I loved actual chocolate desserts as well — the crispy-chewy brownies my mother made and the assorted Hershey’s Miniatures that could always be found in a crystal dish on my grandmother’s polished coffee table.

Best of all, I loved cake roll from the Howard Johnson’s restaurant that was located in the next town over, at the bottom of an I-95 exit ramp. It was perfectly positioned so its orange roof and turquoise sign were visible to travelers on the highway.

On the nights that my mom didn’t feel like cooking dinner, we’d climb in the station wagon and I’d lobby hard for our car to head to HoJo’s. I don’t remember what I used to eat there for dinner. I do remember drawing with my artist father’s charcoal pencils on orange paper place mats, and kicking my brother under the table, and being kicked back, and sneaking sugar packets from the table and trying hard to swallow the sweet white crystals without being seen.

And I remember the cake roll. The chocolate cake was warm and spongy, contrasting beautifully with the firm, frozen vanilla ice cream that it enveloped. Drizzled with hot chocolate sauce, it was heaven in my mouth.

Not long ago I Googled that Howard Johnson’s restaurant to see if it was still in the town near my childhood home. It is — and apparently it’s one of only three HoJo’s restaurants left in the entire country.

I’m dying to know if cake roll is still on the dessert menu.

What was your favorite restaurant when you were a kid?

i1ndex

The Power of Touch

rays1 wm

Last weekend our family took a little trip to visit the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT. We stayed at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa, a beautiful hotel with tastefully-decorated, super-clean rooms and a scrumptious breakfast buffet. (Our stay was subsidized in part by a #TotsTravel2 gift card – a prize I won at a Resourceful Mommy Twitter Party. A big thanks to @resourcefulmom and Marriott for the awesome prize!)

Pretty much our whole reason for going to Mystic was to visit the Aquarium. We thought the boys would dig it. But we paid almost $90.00 for the four of us to walk in the door. (Ouch!) And then the boys ran as fast as they could through every exhibit like their rear ends were afire. We watched penguins waddle around for 2.3 seconds before the boys shouted, “moving on!” and ran to see the seals. And so on. At the rate they were moving through the aquarium, I feared we’d be done in less than an hour.

Thankfully, however, we came across a small, shallow tank that was about three feet off the ground and contained three or four small coral cat sharks. An aquarium staffer was nearby, inviting kids to stick their hands in the water and pet the sharks. My kids practically dove in. They loved it! They thought touching the sharks was the coolest thing ever…

…until we got to a large petting tank full of sting rays. Have you ever touched a ray? They are buttery, velvety soft, like nothing else I’ve ever touched. The boys must have stood there petting the rays for a half hour. I’ve never seen my kids stand so still in their entire lives.

It amazed me to see how transfixed they were when they touched something new. The aquarium’s sights and sounds were not nearly as arresting as were the tactile experiences. My theory is that, because they are constantly exposed to crazy images and noise from TV and video games, watching a walrus take a nap might not grab their attention. But touching an underwater sea creature sure did!

rays2 wm

Mama’s Got Math…and a Giveaway

Buzzing Bloggers Math Midway

Me with Ekta and Melissa from Buzzing Bloggers

A few weeks ago I joined a bunch of mom bloggers and their mini bloggers-to-be at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ. We were there for the launch of LSC’s Math Midway  – a traveling exhibit from the Museum of Mathematics that provides an interactive, hands-on tour of math concepts in a colorful, carnival style.

There were some really fun and fascinating things to discover.

dusty earth mom Math Midway LSC

Above, Dusty Earth Mother is riding a square-wheeled tricycle with her daughter.

LSC Math Midway kid tile pattern

The cute kid in the photo above created a giant pattern using red tiles, which I learned is called a “tessellation.” Cool word, huh?

Harmonograph Math Midway

I got into the swing of harmonics with the Mysterious Harmonograph, a device that creates beautiful swirling patterns on paper. The guy who managed this part of the exhibit is holding up my handiwork.

LSC Math Midway Puzzle kids

The Polyhedral Puzzle Plaza is a super fun area of the exhibit. These oversized 3D puzzle pieces are magnetic and can fit together to make interesting shapes.

Here I am with some of the fab bloggers at the event:
Liberty Science Center bloggers
Left to right: Ekta (Buzzing Bloggers), Diane (Philzendia), Kristin (Mutterschwester), 
Melissa (Buzzing Bloggers and The Staten Island Family), Jen (Babyrific), 
Shari (Dusty Earth Mother), Kim (Fordeville Diaries), and myself.
The Math Midway exhibit will be at the Liberty Science Center until January 22, 2012. If you live in the New York / New Jersey area – or even parts of PA and CT – I recommend you bring the kids to LSC and make a day of it.
You can WIN a family four-pack of tickets to the Liberty Science Center here on my blog! To enter, leave a comment on this post before the deadline of midnight on November 11, 2011. You can also enter by liking take2mommy on Facebook. Do both for two entries. Thanks and good luck!
I received no monetary compensation for this post. I did receive a museum press pass to facilitate my review. 
All opinions expressed herein are my own.