Mama Diaries

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Germ Shepherd

Our German Shepherd, Schultz, recently had a case of a bad ear infection. It seems that the satellite ears of the breed are very good at collecting debris. Ear infections are quite common with German Shepherds. When the veterinarian did a swab sample of whatever was in Schultz's ear, the collection revealed an assortment of fungus, bacteria, and who-knows-what-else. Poor dog! He took his medication, and I'm happy to report he's fine now.

But the funny thing is, on the same day he came back from the vet, we received his renewed license. (Pet owners in Georgia have to renew these every year.) On the license it read, "Germ Shepherd." I chuckled. Very appropriate!

                                                   Schultz, the Germ Shepherd

One more thing:

As I was wandering through the cyber universe, I found these very cute pictures of a German Shepherd and his owl friend. If you'd like to see them, click here.

Monday, March 5, 2018


If you have school-age kids, you know how crazy it can be in the morning, trying to get them ready for school. After breakfast, my teenage son always wants to crawl back into bad for an extra fifteen minutes of sleep. Usually, he wakes up in time and gets to the bus stop. The other day, he did not.

"Mom, can you drive me to the bus stop?"

I had just put the last hot roller in my hair, and was getting ready to apply my makeup. I had to be out the door for a meeting in less than thirty minutes. "Dude, seriously?"

"Yeah. I'm not going to make it if we don't go now."

I sighed. I didn't want to take the rollers out, because the hair wouldn't have had time to curl properly. I ran out of the bathroom and grabbed my purse and keys. "Fine. Let's go."

Of course, he missed the bus, which meant I had to drive him to school wearing no makeup and sporting hot rollers in my hair. Not a pretty sight.  "This is so not cool!" I complained.

Bubba laughed. "You look great, Mom!"

I frowned. Then I spotted a police man, parked, waiting to nab speeders. I won't say what I thought, but it was about as nice as I looked. I frantically started pulling the rollers out of my hair, and managed to get all but the back ones out. At least if he had seen me from the side and front, I'd have looked normal. I figured it would have been just my luck to get stopped looking like such a disaster. Fortunately, my speed didn't activate his radar. I put on a pair of sunglasses, and hoped my funky hair-do wouldn't attract too much attention.

It didn't. I dropped the boy off to school without anyone giving me any funny looks. I also got home and did my makeup and hair properly, so that when I went out again, I was no longer a mom-tastrophe.

Have any of you ever had a similar experience?

Before I go, I'd like to share a book trailer for my newest book, Don't Feed the Elephant. If you haven't already seen it, it features animation of some of the illustrations, and a narration done by me. The trailer was produced by epublishingeXperts who illustrated the book. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Souper Blog Hop

Hi everybody! Today, I'm participating in the Souper Blog Hop, created to help promote Chrys Fey's mom's new book, Pea Soup Disaster. Participants will share their favorite soup recipe. I don't know about you, but I love soup! I make a lot of it, because you can throw so much good stuff into it and it tastes so yummy–especially on a cold winter day! I struggled to come up with my favorite, because there are so many good recipes. But I settled on loaded potato soup. How many of you are loaded potato fans? If you are, then you'll like this soup! Here's the recipe:


6 slices of bacon, chopped
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
3 pounds russet potatoes, chopped
1 cup sour cream
3 cups shredded cheddar
4 scallions, sliced, for garnish


Set a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy, 6-8 minutes, remove to a plate. When cool, crumble and set aside for garnish.

 Add the onions and garlic to the pot, and cook in the bacon grease until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add the flour and some salt and pepper, and stir until combined. Cook fro 3 minutes, so the raw flour tastes cooks out. Add the chicken broth and heavy cream, whisking to remove any flour lumps. Add the potatoes and cook over medium heat until tender, about 10 minutes. With a potato masher, break up the cooked potatoes until it is a thick and chunky consistency. Whisk in sour cream and then the shredded cheddar, let it melt through. 

Serve garnished with crispy crumbled bacon and sliced scallions. 

(If you want to be a little more health-conscious, you can use bacon bits and just use vegetable/olive oil to cook the onions and garlic.)

What's your favorite soup?

BLURB: Gregory Green loves his mom’s pea soup, but when he eats it at school, all of his friends make fun of how it looks. He doesn’t think it looks like bugs, and it tastes good! Then at recess, his friends run from him, screaming, “He’s a monster!” Gregory doesn’t know why his friends are being mean until he sees his skin is green. The teasing gets worse until an unlikely friend comes to the rescue—his teddy bear, Sammy. Sammy usually only comes to life for Gregory and his family, but Sammy has an important lesson to teach Gregory and his classmates.

Available in Print:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elaine Kaye got the idea for Pea Soup Disaster from her son who loved to eat her homemade pea soup. Pea Soup Disaster is the first of many fun stories featuring Gregory Green and his teddy bear, Sammy, as part of the Gregory Green Adventure series.

Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home. She is a grandmother of three boys.

Find Elaine:
Website / Instagram / Litsy - @ElaineKaye

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Mad Scientist

When I wake up in the morning, I don't think about plutonium or nuclear reactors. I don't think about the inner workings of a battery, either. I wake up and think about making breakfast for my kids, and hope I can do it without spilling an entire jug of milk on the floor. 

My son, Bubba, on the other hand does think about plutonium, and radon, and nuclear fusion. In fact, he draws complicated diagrams of batteries and explains them to me, as I sit there in a complete state of grogginess.

Here was the latest diagram: 

This is a battery. Some kind of special one with a lead case so the radioactive material inside doesn't create a problem for its handler. The diagram on the left is something about how to make two parts come together to begin the reaction once the casing is secure. Do you understand? Me neither.  I thought he was probably coming up with this from the top of his head. Maybe it was some residual delirium from his recent bout with the flu.

But my husband took a look at it.  It is actually a viable concept for a real plutonium battery. (My husband is a mechanical genius, so he would know if Bubba was full of it.)

I don't know if my Mad Scientist son is going to get the parts and assemble this in our basement. But what I can tell you, is that if you see a mushroom cloud over Atlanta, Georgia, the epicenter will be at my house!   

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Claw Master

My son, Bubba, is a lucky dude. Every time he goes to a place that has those machines where you operate a claw in hopes of snatching a stuffed animal or some other prize, he wins. I don't know how he does it. Must be a magic touch.

The other day, he went to a place called Dave and Busters. He had to try his luck at another claw machine. This one contained jewelry and watches. (I guess stuffed animals don't hold much appeal to him anymore, now that he's a teenager.)

He brought the claw down and snagged a lovely necklace. First try.

"Nice," I said. "What are you doing to do with it?"

"Keep it in a special place. And maybe eventually give it to somebody. Like maybe a girlfriend for Valentine's Day if I ever get one."

"Good thinking."

 Maybe he can win some stuffed animals, too. I'm sure his date would be thrilled!

Before I go, I want to let you know that I'm doing a Goodreads Giveaway for my book, Don't Feed the Elephant. It's for the Kindle version, and it's a chance to win one of 20 copies. Open to US residents only. If you're interested, you can enter here.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Race Day

My son, Bubba and I decided to do the 5K Hot Chocolate Race in Atlanta this past Sunday. It sounded like a good idea. Especially since at the end of the run, they give finishers a big bowl and plate filled with rice crispy treats, marshmallows, a banana, chocolate, and of course, hot chocolate!

We had been training for about a month. We were in good shape (aside from blisters on my toes and a screwed up knee–neither of which I acquired from running).  On the morning of the big race, I woke up at 4:00 AM (we had to be there by 6:30 AM), and discovered it was raining. Hard. I groaned. Running in the rain was not something I wanted to do.

Then I looked at the thermometer. 35 Degrees Fahrenheit. Almost cold enough to snow. This is crazy, I thought.

My boy came downstairs.

"Dude," I said. "Take a look at the weather. Do you seriously want to do this?"

He poked his head outside. "Sure. It's not great, but it's no big deal."

Uh huh.

The weather forecast indicated that the rain was going to continue all day. Atlanta was under a weather advisory. I checked the race site. It was still on.

"Okay," I said. "We'll go see what's up. And maybe we can still get our hot chocolate. That's what we're going for, right?"

Long story short - the corral wait in the rain was an hour. The run was just over 35 minutes. It was the coldest, wettest running experience ever! And the hot chocolate wasn't hot. It was tepid.

"That was great!" Bubba said. "Can we do the 15K next year?"

Yeah, right!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Special Guest: Author, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

Today I have a very special guest at my pad, children's author, Deanie Humphrys-Dunne. I've known Deanie for many years. She's a sweet, thoughtful person. I love her books because they are uplifting and give encouragement. The world needs more of that! Please welcome Deanie! 

Hi, Deanie!  So glad you could join us!

All of your books offer inspiration and life lessons. Your latest book, My Life at Sweetbriar, is about overcoming obstacles and persevering. Could you share some tips for how to remain positive in the face of adversity? How to keep going when things seem stacked against you?

First of all, thank you so much for interviewing me today, Sherry.  I love spending time with you.
When I get discouraged, things seem to be a bigger challenge than they actually are so I would say your problem could be the size of an anthill but when you’re thinking about it, the image you get is Pike’s Peak. Basically, try examining the issue from all sides. For example, when I was learning to jump horses, I’d often fall off two or three times a day. Some days it felt like I’d never stay on.  How could the problem be solved? I figured if I worked harder than other people, eventually I’d prevail. The other alternative was to quit and that wasn’t an option because then I’d surely fail and not reach my goal. 
Try to focus on the positive. We’ll use the jumping story again. If I normally fell off twice and progressed to only once a day, that was a positive step. My dad was a creative person so he’d find little ways to help. For instance, to help me keep my balance and also prevent pulling back on the reins, which made the horse uncomfortable, he put a strap around the horse’s neck so I could grab that while we were getting ready for the jump. It kept my hands in the right position and helped my balance a bit. We’d try to analyze why I fell off so we could remedy it. Most to the time I fell because my heels went back and I pitched forward. That was something I constantly tried to correct.
You could also divide the project into little parts. What if you were afraid of public speaking? Practice in front of your family or friends because you know they’ll encourage you. When the day comes to make your speech, look at one person in the audience that you know and pretend that’s the only one there.
Remember things are always changing. If you have a bad day, tomorrow is a new start. You have a chance to fix the mistakes you made yesterday.
Finally, imagine yourself having the result you want. The night before a horse show, I’d imagine taking the jumps perfectly. It helped keep me focused on my goals.

Those are great tips! I think it's important to learn from our mistakes and keep going. Keeping a positive outlook certainly helps.

What was one of the biggest challenges you've had to face, and how did you overcome it?
Perhaps the biggest thing was learning to walk after my surgery that re-positioned my femur bone. Metal and screws held the bone in place so I didn’t need to wear a cast for a year. After the surgery, everything felt different and I had to learn to use muscles that had never worked before. Walking felt different. I’m extremely fortunate my parents encouraged me to keep working until I felt more comfortable with walking.  As with other things, it took lots of practice. 😊

I can't even imagine having to go through that. Kudos to you for persevering!

Two of the horses in your story, Little Man and Peach, were very dear to you. Can you share any funny stories about either of them that weren't mentioned in your book?
Little Man was a naughty little pony. He was fuzzy and plump. He looked completely innocent. I thought he understood everything I said to him. In the book, My Life at Sweetbrier, I said I gave him sugar cubes hoping to improve his behavior. He loved getting into trouble. He snuck out gate of the riding ring once while I was on him before I even noticed what he had in mind. Probably the funny thing was I thought he understood everything I said to him.
Peach had another friend besides my sister Holly’s pony, Dark N Fancy. His name was Almost, but we called him Mosty for short. His owner’s name was Betty. If Betty and Mosty were ahead of Peach and me while we were on a trail ride, Peach would gallop until she could see him again. She seemed to miss him right away.  After that, she’d be calm. The two of them liked to look for escape routes to the apple orchard across the street from our farm.
Whenever we prepared Peach for a big show, we did the usual things like bathing her, and braiding her mane and tail. But Holly wanted her to have something unique to make Peach stand out. Holly used a comb to make checkered patterns on Peach’s rump.  
Here’s a funny story not related to Peach or Little Man that I could have put in the book. My mom took me for physical therapy three times a week. When I was about 5 years old, we were on our way to the therapy clinic. We passed an elegant stone church and Mom said, “That’s where Mommy and Daddy got married. I started crying. Of course, my mom asked what was wrong and I said, “Mommy, I’ll never forgive you. You didn’t invite us.” She laughed so hard she almost ran off the road and hit a tree.

It's funny how animals understand what we're talking about. My dog, Schultz is like that. He pretends he clueless, but that's only because he's trying to get away with something!

That's hilarious that you got mad at your mom for not inviting you to her wedding. I'm glad she didn't hit the tree!

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Even though I liked writing since childhood, I never had the confidence to try it until 2009. At the time, I had an intuition to try writing about growing up at Sweetbrier. The feeling didn’t lessen, so I finally decided to give it a try. My dad always said when you’re afraid to do something, consider the worst thing that could happen. I figured if I wrote a book that wasn’t published, I’d only need to improve it and try submitting it again.

I'm glad you followed your feeling. Sometimes those feelings are guides to what we should be doing. Now we have some great books from you!

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I think it’s important to follow your passion and use your natural skills. If you’d like to become an author, read as much as you can in your genre. Research publishing and decide it you’d like to self-publish or not. If you decide to become an author, let people know your book is coming out through social media. Finally, be sure to edit and revise your work until you feel it reflects your best effort. Don’t be discouraged by those who have negative comments. If becoming an author is your goal, go for it.

Revision is very important! Most of us don't write a perfect book on the first try. I think patience and persistence are key. 

Silly question:  If you could be one animal, what would it be and why?
Maybe I’d like to be a mixed-breed Pitbull who talks. I’d explain not to be afraid of my big head, because I have a good heart. We had a mixed breed Pitbull, Elliott, for 13.5 years. We rescued him and he was the best ever. Our sons chose him because they thought “He had character.” Elliott was at the pound for six months before we chose him. The people there said no one would even consider him once they saw the big head. We made him happy by putting him in some of my books. Someday I might write a picture book about Elliott.

Elliot is a cool character. I remember reading about him in one of your other books. I think it would be great to have a book about him. Maybe the theme could be not to judge someone by their appearance.

Thanks for joining us, Deanie. It's always great to chat with you!

My review of My Life at Sweetbriar:  5 Star  My Life at Sweetbrier, is author, Deanie Dunne's recounting of life at her childhood home–a horse farm in Connecticut. Deanie was born with cerebral palsy. For most people, that would be enough to deter them from ever riding a horse. But not for Deanie. Thanks to her father's "can do" philosophy, Deanie became a skilled rider, winning many riding competitions. It wasn't without challenges, though. Deanie shares the adversities she had to overcome and offers encouragement for others to do the same.

Written in a conversational style, readers can feel that Deanie is talking directly to them. Sprinkled throughout the book are photographs of Deanie as a young child and as a teenager with her horses. Young readers, ages 8-12, especially those who love horses, will enjoy this book. The message of perseverance even in the face of obstacles is an important one for everyone to learn. An inspiring book, highly recommended.

You can find the book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

              photo by Bob Moseder
Bio for Deanie Humphrys-Dunne
Deanie Humphrys-Dunne is an award-winning children’s book author with six books published at this time: My Life at Sweetbrier, Charlie the Horse, Charlene the Star, Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog and Tails of Sweetbrier.  All of her books offer positive messages for children. Her sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, beautifully illustrates all of her fictional books and designs the covers. All books are available on Kindle and paperback.
 My Life at Sweetbrier is an inspirational award-winning autobiography about a little girl whose one desire was to become a champion equestrian, in spite of her handicap. This book is a revised, expanded version of her first book, Tails of Sweetbrier.
Deanie is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature.  Her books have won a number of awards and recognition including her latest awards for My Life at Sweetbrier; The gold medal in the New Apple Book Awards, and the gold medal in the Mom’s Choice awards. Other awards are listed on Deanie’s website: