Today I Learned About Kola Nuts (Are They the Perfect Food?)

Dear Kid,

I’ve been reading about kola nuts. Turns out that kola nuts are The Next Great Thing. Unless they are the Retro New Thing.

Today I Learned About Kola Nuts (Are They the Perfect Food?) DearKidLoveMom.comYou know about the kola nut from Coca-Cola which originally used the kola nut for flavor and caffeine. The kola tree is native to tropical rain forests in Africa. The nut contains a lot of caffeine and is considered a symbol of hospitality and kindness.

Kola nuts have been used medicinally for a zillion years, by which I mean pretty much forever. They’re a digestive aid. They’re great for chest colds and can help prevent and fight infection. They can help kill prostate cancer cells. And (most importantly) they may aid in weight loss. Say what? Yep, the kola nut can increase metabolism by 118%. Which means that my metabolism might go from non-existent to barely there. Excellent.

Since it contains caffeine and theobromine, kola increases cerebral circulation. Alertness! Metabolism! Optimized digestion! Strengthened immune system! Increased energy! Lots of exclamation points! Let’s go brew a cup!

Love, Mom

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Weird Conversation

Weird Conversation

Dear Kid,

Ok, quick. Name three things you can’t do while weeding.


True. Unless you count the occasional rogue mosquito.

That’s one. Name a second.

Get eaten by a hippopotamus.


Do you know anyone who’s been eaten by a hippo while weeding?

Seriously? They’re herbivores. They won’t eat you.

They might if they mistake you for the weeds.

Big hippo problem in your yard, is there?

And a third?

Hunt antelope.

What is this obsession with African wildlife?

You’re concerned about reality?

Fair point.

What else can’t you do while weeding?

We already named three.

See the above point about reality.

Ah, alternate math. I get it.

Get pregnant.

That probably depends on how much attention you’re paying to the weeding.

And the prevalence of poison ivy.

Don’t even think that!

Are we including things we can’t do anyway?

Like what?

Play the violin.

And get dirt all over it?

The point is I can’t play the violin anyway.

And it takes two hands.

And a chin.

I have one.

One what?

A chin.

You can’t weed and have this conversation.

That’s a hint to change the topic, isn’t it.

Pretty much.

How ‘bout worms?

In tequila bottles?

Love, Mom

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It’s International Beer Day

It’s International Beer Day

Dear Kid,

A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.-- Czech Proverb, DearKidLoveMom.comHappy Friday! And Happy International Beer Day!

Didn’t know it was International Beer Day? Then it’s a good thing you have me.

There are three major classifications of beer: ales, lagers, and (if you’re a college student) beer-in-the-hand (which beats the kind that is more drinkable but more expensive).

Pay attention. There will be a quiz at the end.

Ales have been around forever (and by “forever” I mean back before women knew it was acceptable to punch a man who yelled, “Bring us some ale, wench!”). Lagers have only been around for a few hundred years.

Ales are fermented at relatively warm temperatures for short periods of time, while lagers are cold fermented for longer periods of time.

The primary types of ale are pale ale and brown ale, but within those categories are bitters, milds, IPAs, nut browns.

Lagers are the world’s most popular beer and the primary types are pilsners and dark lagers.

Then there are stouts (with a dark, coffee-like taste), porters (happy to carry your luggage for a tip), and malts (light to full-bodied with hints of caramel, toffee, and nuts).


Love, Mom

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Dog Fight, Snoopy, and Parenting

Dog Fight, Snoopy, and Parenting

Dear Kid,

A friend of mine was in a dog fight. Not the cool, imaginary Snoopy and the Red Baron kind. A real, go to the hospital and have a boatload of stitches kind.

Not the cool, imaginary Snoopy and the Red Baron kind of dog fight.

The bad part is that the dogs in question are her dogs. And she kept yelling to the ER docs, “I have to go, my dog is hurt!”

My friend (you don’t know her and she lives in a different part of the country) will be fine. Her dogs (generally very sweet loving creatures) will be fine. I’m not at all sure that I will be fine.

The dogs are big and high energy but well behaved. They live happily in a fenced-in yard where they have plenty of room to run and play. They also have neighbors.

Ill-behaved neighborhood boys.

Badly-behaved local hooligans.



Who—not for the first time—came by the back fence and goaded the dogs into fighting.

Who does that?!!!

My friend has spoken to the boys’ parents. More than once. Apparently, the parents are complete and utter twits because they don’t seem to care (at all) that their boys are mistreating animals.

How clueless are these parents???

My friend is going to talk to them again. She thinks maybe now that she’s been so significantly injured the parents might take notice.

YO! Parents: Lawsuit on the horizon!

But it shouldn’t take the threat of legal action to get parents to raise reasonably behaved children.


Sending happy healing thoughts to my friend and her dogs. And hopes that the boys’ parents get their act together before too long.

Love, Mom

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Brakes, Moose, and Seuss

Brakes, Moose, and Seuss

Dear Kid,

I went out to car the other day, and there—in the grocery store parking lot—was a car with this bumper sticker:

Brake for Moose (Like someone wouldn't?)

My first thought was, “How cool is it that someone is thinking about moose in the middle of Ohio!?!”

My second thought was, “Wait. Someone might NOT brake for a moose? How stupid is that?”

My third thought was, “Lunch!

Because it was time for lunch, not because I was thinking that moose was on the menu.

Moose are big. There not some tiny little thing you can easily overlook. They weigh about 1,800 pounds (yep, there’s a comma in there) and a moose’s shoulder is taller than the top of your head.

They are equally comfortable on land and in the water. They can run faster than you by the time they are 5 days old. They swim better than you too and they can hold their breath under water for 30 seconds.

In September and October, bulls bellow to attract mates. Apparently this works for moose. It does not work well for people. I don’t know why moose females bother answering; they can take the bulls. They give birth to one or two calves each weighing about 30 pounds. Female moose are not frail, fragile creatures.

So if you see a moose…BRAKE!

None of this has anything to do with Dr. Seuss, but you didn’t imagine I’d pass up an opportunity to quote Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book, did you?

A moose is asleep. He is dreaming of moose drinks.
A goose is asleep. He is dreaming of goose drinks.
That’s well and good when a moose dreams of moose juice.
And nothing goes wrong when a goose dreams of goose juice.
But it isn’t too good when a moose and a goose
Start dreaming they’re drinking the other one’s juice.
Moose juice, not goose juice, is juice for a moose.
And goose juice, not moose juice, is juice for a goose.
So, when goose gets a mouthful of juices of mooses
And moose gets a mouthful of juices of gooses
They always fall out of their beds screaming screams
So, I’m warning you, now! Never drink in your dreams.

–Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book

Love, Mom

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August is The Month of Transition

August is The Month of Transition

Dear Kid,

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit and Happy August.

It seems (to me) appropriate to use a lot of capital letters as we head into the a Month of Transition.

August is a Month of Transition. That’s why it has 31 days—to give us one extra before we pop into September (you’re reading this on the internet therefore it must be true).

We’re transitioning from camps to home to college. We’re transitioning from the looser structure of summer to the more rigid structure of the school year. We’re transitioning from shorts every day to shorts only on the weekend. We’re transitioning from summer sales to back to school sales.

There is a whole new crop of freshmen heading off to college this month. They face the same excitement-nervousness-happy-terrified-wonderful feelings every freshman faces. More importantly, their parents face the same excitement-nervousness-happy-terrified-wonderful feelings every parent faces.

News flash: kids get over it faster than parents.

Second news flash: parents generally know we’ll all get over it sooner or later.

Third news flash: we all get to experience it for each big “new.” Moving into an apartment, going off to an internship, joining a sorority or fraternity, getting a job.

It was not my idea to pose for photos before breakfast DearKidLoveMom.comMega news flash for parents of college kids: they are much better at sharing the not so good news and the scary than they are at sharing the good stuff. Which is to say, they’ll sometimes contact you when life isn’t so great and sometimes forget to let you know they’re still on the planet when the happy happens. Unless they’re the kid who only tells you the good stuff and suffers in silence with the more difficult things.

Mega news flash for kids: we want to hear all of it. The good, the bad, the ugly, the wonderful, what you had for breakfast. (Ok, ok, you’re independent—you don’t have to share breakfast unless you want to. Just eat something. Coffee by itself is insufficient.) We’re thrilled that you’re having new adventures and new experiences and we want to know all about it.

As a conversation stopper, "I don't drink caffeine" was right up there with “Let’s talk politics and religion.” DearKidLoveMom.comBecause we love you.

Happy August.

Love, Mom


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Weekend Update | Weeds, Mosquitoes, and Birds (Oh, My)

Dear Kid,

It will not stun you to learn that while Dad and Pi went on a 56 mile bike ride yesterday, I didn’t.

I spent some time outside…wait for it…weeding. Since I’m (very) tired of being the buffet for the bugs, I dosed myself in serious bug spray.

Turns out that DEET is sort of a flavor enhancer for mosquitoes when it hits my skin.

“Ah, zee chef has outdone heerself zis evening wiz a beautiful assortment of limbs, well-seasoned wiz chemicals zat—while rumored to offend our olfactory senses—make zee leetle nip and bite all zee more enticing.”


We have weird mosquitoes.

The Puppy watched from the safety of “over there” where he alternated between napping in the sun and napping in the shade.

The birdfeeder is neutral territory. Everyone is tolerated. Mostly. DearKidLoveMom.comI read somewhere that one of the best ways to get rid of mosquitoes is to have a bird feeder. The theory is that when you attract birds to your backyard with birdseed, they will munch on some handy bugs while they’re in the neighborhood.

It’s entirely possible that our birds are vegan. Or that they’re lazy and have decided not to bother with the swooping and catching when the landing and eating is so much easier. It’s also possible that they are eating their fair share of bugs and the yard would be swarm-filled without them.

IMO they aren’t working hard enough. Unfortunately, I don’t know if that means I should add another bird feeder or take one down. Pretty sure I’ll settle for buying more hydrocortisone.

Love, Mom

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