Wendy Knuth Author of Moore Zombies, blogging about the human experience.

Tag Archives: #tradition

The 20 Year Old Cake, Part II – China/Platinum Anniversary

Presents

Let me tell you how things finally went down.  The old, bald guy had a bad day at work and was kind of grumpy.  He actually went grocery shopping.  While he was away, our boys & I ordered pizza.  I removed the cake which I had hidden in the refrigerator, unwrapped the aluminum foil and left it in a pile on the counter.  It was a big clue in plain sight.  It turns out the boys did know about the cake in the freezer.  I must have told them the story long ago.

So yes, there was a small slice missing.  One red candle went in the center.  I put out two presents.  Traditional rules for the 20 year anniversary say I should buy china.  More contemporary guidelines say one should buy platinum.  So I bought both.

chinaplat

After my initial cake blog, a friend on Facebook sent a “Happy Anniversary” Flintstones clip.  It has proven to be problematic in that I can’t get the song out of my head, even days later.

When hubby came home, the boys and I quickly helped out with the groceries, not letting him into the kitchen.  Then I waited at the computer until one of my boys said, “Now.”  He lit the candle and I pressed play on the music clip where Fred Flintstone and his buddies are singing and Barney is playing a Stoneway piano.

The Flintstones – Happy Anniversary clip

The old, bald guy walked into the kitchen and immediately lit up.  He laughed and then said “Where did you get the cake?”  I was kind of surprised.  Then he said “There’s a slice missing.”  He looked a little confused.  He was just not getting it.  I gave him a weird look, looked at the cake and then at the pile of aluminum foil, and looked back at him without saying a word.  He circled around and I saw a sudden look of recognition come over his face.

“Is that what I think it is?!”  Yes, I told him.  He laughed, and I mean hard, and then he said, “Thank God!  We can finally get rid of that thing!”  How romantic.

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We both thought the cake was in remarkably good form.  The icing smelled like icing but when we touched the inside where the slice was missing, it felt really dry, like sand.  No, we didn’t eat any.

Hubby enjoyed his presents, the pizza came, and we watched our wedding video.  Our teenage boys had never seen it before.  Pretty weird to see how young everyone looked, including ourselves, and a lot of people have since passed away.  I was feeling sentimental and teary eyed here and there, but that quickly dissipated because boys will be boys and my 3 guys cracked a lot of weird jokes throughout.  Again, very romantic.

What happened to the cake?  Well, this cake is famous now.  I gave it a fresh wrapping of aluminum foil and back into the freezer it went.

Wendy Knuth, author of Moore Zombies books

The 20 Year Old Wedding Cake

blogcake20Blogcake

The old, bald guy and I are about to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary!!!  The picture of the old ripped and torn aluminum foil wrapped thingy-a-bobby?  It is the top tier of our wedding cake, and it has been in our freezer for literally 20 years.  Read it again.

We have all heard about how you are supposed to put some of your wedding cake in the freezer and then defrost it for your one year anniversary and actually eat a bite.  Yuck.  For some reason we reluctantly participated in this tradition.  Even if it tastes great, it is very difficult mentally to cope with the one year old part.  Who came up with this silly tradition?  Perhaps it is an early test of the “in sickness or in health” part of your marriage vows with regards to food poisoning.

Let’s move on to mental health.  Where or how is mine?  For some odd reason, the cake went back into the freezer and became a point of nostalgia for me.  Years passed and my hubby would occasionally ask me when can we get rid of this cake?  We’re never going to it eat.  Well, true.  But it would be like throwing away a piece of our history.  I can’t say that we argued about it but I think he saw that it would make me sad.  He gave up asking quite some time ago.  I think he came to terms with the fact that as long as I am alive, this cake will be in the freezer.  Honestly, if he had thrown it away without my knowledge for the greater part of the last decade, I probably wouldn’t have noticed.  But, don’t tell him that.

So there I am, trying to think of some unique gift for our 20 year anniversary and I suddenly remember – the cake!!!!  I’m going to defrost and put it on the table next to his real presents.  I think he and our kids will get a kick out of it.  I’m pretty sure our boys don’t even know what that ragged aluminum foil wrapped thing is that has been in the freezer for their entire lives.  I’m not sure if they have ever heard the story behind it.  Don’t worry – the old, bald guy is not into social media so he won’t see this post until post anniversary.

There is only one problem.  I will be setting myself up for disaster.  I imagine that after a fun evening and some giggling about the ridiculousness of it all, my hubby will probably ask if we can finally throw the cake away.  It’s a dilemma.  We’ll just see how things go. . .

Wendy Knuth

MooreZombies.com

Peyton Manning’s Post Superbowl Speech –Thank you family, God, and Budweiser

Peyton Manning’s Post Superbowl Speech

Peyton Manning’s Post Superbowl Speech –Thank you family, God, and Budweiser

So there I am watching Peyton Manning’s speech at the end of Superbowl 50 and I am incredibly surprised and greatly amused to hear him talk about how he will be drinking Budweiser that evening.  First of all, I think –  kaching! (cash register noise here) –  he just made at least a million bucks for saying that, right?  Secondly I think – why haven’t I seen this act before?  It’s brilliant!!

Of course Mr. Manning thanked his teammates, family and God.  That is to be expected.  I can’t quite recall the order, so one might go back over the footage to amuse him or herself to see where his priorities were.   Don’t be fooled, Budweiser as a seemingly priority number one would certainly count in my book as family priority number one bringing home the bacon-wise.

But again, why haven’t I seen this before?  Athletes of all kinds wear baseball caps and t-shirts with slogans and logos.  NASCAR events have autos with advertising all over their bodies.  UFC fighters make a point of quickly putting on a t-shirt and ball cap with company advertising after the fight is over.  By the way, I just love how someone realized that the octagon butt is prime real estate for advertising.  Very clever!

We have all seen athletes in commercials endorsing this and that.  However, there is nothing like a verbal and visual endorsement from a superstar athlete at the peak of his career during a prime time moment.  We all know about the “I’m going to Disneyland” statement made post win that is supposed to seem spontaneous.  So, why haven’t other companies jumped on this band wagon?

Disneyland is more of a proximity thing.  Numerous other items are much more readily available to the average person:  soda, candy, snacks, fast food, under wear, clothes, cars & trucks, and yes, alcohol.  I got to thinking – there is a lot more money that could be made here.

I now have a clear plan for my life.  First, I become a super athlete.  I work and toil for years while making several mil along the way.  Second, after years of hard work, I win a huge athletic event in which I will most certainly be interviewed after the fact.  And now comes the best part.  Third, during what is probably going to end up being my retirement speech, I earn an additional 50 million cool dollars in verbal endorsements over the course of a few sentences.  Wish me luck.  Kaching!

Wendy Knuth, author of Moore Zombies picture books and chapter books

Please visit MooreZombies.com – books, t-shirts, free video games, free coloring pages, fun videos!

 

Enjoy the attached video – you have just read about the inspiration behind it.

I would like to add credits and would encourage readers to please email, tweet, and/or facebook with their comments on this hilarious video:

CBS Sports – Thank you so much for the live stream of the Super Bowl!  

www.cbssports.com

www.twitter.com/cbssports

Peyton Manning Fan Pages:

www.facebook.com/PeytonManningDenverBronco

www.facebook.com/PeytonManninglover/

www.twitter.com/peytonmanninggo

www.twitter.com/theofficial18

Tracy Wolfson, Sportscaster

www.TracyWolfson.net

www.facebook.com/TracyWolfson/

www.twitter.com/tracywolfson

Images used in the video

www.freeimages.com/KennKiser for the classic Ford Truck in the attached video

www.Freeimages.com/kirchli for the hanging under wear in the attached video

www.Freeimages.com/TheD for the picture of the Big Mac in the attached video

www.Freeimages.com/mikaelcronhamn for the picture of the adorable little girl in princess attire in the attached video

Sound used in the video

www.Freesounds.org “Cash Register Purchase” by Zott820

Last, but not least, Sudipta Dasgupta of www.dasguptarts.com for the Moore Zombies images (Gothina, Broheimer, Baby Zom, & Kamper)

Christmas and The Leaning Tower of Tree

Leaning Tower of TreeHand Xmas Tree
I bought a Christmas tree.  I placed it in the holder all by myself, and low and behold I could not get it straight.  More importantly, I couldn’t get it steady.  Perhaps older teenage boy that I purchased the tree from at the local grocery store did not cut the bottom correctly.  I broke out the old camp saw and cut it again myself.  If you want something done right. . .  Long story short, the tree is still leaning, and still loose.  It could fall over at any time.  I may have uttered a few bad words.

So let’s reframe the situation.  Instead of admitting defeat, I will name this year’s tree:  The Leaning Tower of Tree.  It is much easier to cope with the situation, and much more fun.  I have to admit, I did think about strapping the tree to the wall with plumber’s tape.  Have I mentioned that my husband, the old bald guy, is a plumber? The layperson might imagine that plumbers tape actually has a sticky side.  No, it is a thin sheet metal strap with which you use screws to secure things to a wall or stud, such as a water heater in an earthquake prone environment.  No, it is much more fun to deal with said tree in its current condition.  It is what it is.

Thinking back to previous years, I recall the year of two trees.  The kids couldn’t agree on which tree to buy, and of course they each favored a different one.  Luckily I could afford and we bought them both.  Then there was the year of “The tree of poverty.”  I believe it was 2008 or 2009 when the economy took a terrible turn for the worse.  I bought a tiny little table top tree on the cheap, almost Charlie Brown style but not quite as sad.  We had a lot of fun making fun of that tree, and the savings made for more money for presents.  Boy, how I miss the days of the dollar bin for the plastic airplane or car that the kids loved as much as they would love a brand new computer nowadays.

So buy a tree, or don’t.  Draw a tree on cardboard and stand it up against the wall.  Put together cutout hand prints of your children, tape them together, and tape it to the wall.  Don’t be sad about it.  Set the mood and make it fun!  Oh, and don’t forget to name your tree.

Wendy Knuth, Author of Moore Zombies picture books and early chapter books

Thanksgiving – My Family’s Tradition of “Boo”

I blogged a pinch about this last year, but this is a much more in depth blog about the boo subject.  Here goes:

Every time I see a contest for a Thanksgiving story, I think of my grandmother who has long since passed away.  My family has an interesting tradition that stems from a Thanksgiving dinner many, many years ago.  We say “boo” after a good meal.  A good meal means that someone actually put some effort into cooking.  One might say “boo” after a meal they did not enjoy in a show of respect for the chef, however, one would certainly not say “boo” after a fast food meal.  Back in the day, there was no such thing as fast food as far as today’s meaning of the phrase.

The tradition started before I was born.  I have heard the origination story so many times that I feel as if I were there.  I was not.  Now that I think about, I have only ever heard the story from my mother’s perspective.  Yet, I was there for meals with my grandmother and family when we all said “boo” afterwards.  Only now do I wish I had heard perhaps a truer, closer to the source version from my grandmother’s own mouth.

I wrote a wonderful piece on the subject from my grandmother’s point of view.  Envision the daily life of a young mother in the 1950’s and all the differences between then and now, and all the similarities between then and now.  I can picture my mother as a young child at the time, who could not even fathom her own grandchildren as she knows them today who live to carry on this tradition, much in the same way that my children can’t hardly imagine their own children yet to come, let alone grandchildren who perhaps will say “boo” one day after a home cooked meal, maybe a Thanksgiving meal.

As I introduce you to the slightly more dramatic version of this tale, I hope you think of your family’s past, present, and future, and revel in your own family traditions!  Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy. . .

 

Listen To What I Hear

Pay attention.  Listen to what I hear.  I took pride in my craft.  I slaved all day with no help, no offers of help.  I expressed my affection through my work.  My loved ones gathered around, and took part in this, the most intimate of family traditions, a holiday known most for family gatherings and for a day of thanks.  No compliments were heard, no thanks, no giving on anyone’s part but mine.  I was waiting, just waiting for even the smallest something.

As the last family member left the table, save for myself, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I was ired by their rudeness.  I heard a voice coming from myself expressing in a disappointed and loud voice the same words I was feeling: “I worked hard all day for this fine meal before you and no one even said boo!”

My family was just as shocked by my reaction as I was by their non-reaction.  The children eyed each other, eyed me, and then eyed their father nervously.  My husband, at first, looked surprised.  His perplexed expression relaxed, and slowly turned to adorement.  A faint smile slowly crept upon his face.  He then said “boo” in the nicest, most loving way.  My children giggled in the moment and also said “boo”, each in turn.

It was the smallest something.  But really it was greater than that.  From resentment and compassion was born this family tradition:  A gift of folklore to the family, from the family, for the family.  My legacy?  Perhaps.  I am no longer here, and yet, this old soul lives on. Boo. It is what you would expect this old ghost to say, but it is what I hear.

Wendy Knuth, author of Moore Zombies picture books and chapter books.  MooreZombies.com

Moore Zombies Picture Books Are For All Ages!!

Moore Zombies CoverGimme Noodle Front Cover

Why Placing An Age Range On Picture Books Doesn’t Quite Make Sense

Hello all.  And I mean all!  I don’t care what your age is in the human spectrum of life.  If you are reading to and with children, then a specified age range for a book implies limitations that just shouldn’t be.  This is why I HATE placing an age range on my Moore Zombies books.  Plug, plug.

I am a strong believer in early reading.  When my children were young, I read to them early and often.  Yes, you may enjoy the words and the pictures, but don’t forget about cuddling, bonding, learning, teaching, feeling proud, giggling, etc.  This can be between adult and child, between older child and younger child, or even between children of the same age.  Everyone has fun.

You can’t tell me that a toddler doesn’t read.  Maybe they can’t interpret the letters, but they are certainly taking it all in.  In a way, isn’t that reading?  Don’t we read situations?  Don’t we read people’s emotions?  There is no lettering involved there.

My mom has a story about how proud my brother’s babysitter was about teaching him to read a Dr. Seuss book.  After she left, my brother read the whole book out loud, over and over, without the book.  My mom didn’t have the heart to tell the babysitter.  Somewhere, I have footage of my young son reading a book that was upside down.  However, he had all of the words memorized, and I mean correctly for each page.  I’ve seen online footage of other young kids reading an upside down book.  How cute!!  This is definitely a form of early reading.

As an author, I enjoy placing things in my picture books (meaning wording and pictures) for adults and children, because I know they will be read by both.  So how can I classify my picture books as being intended for ages 3-5 or 4-8 when in reality they are for ages baby to senior.  The years pass quickly, so grab a picture book and read to, or with your kids.  I highly recommend Moore Zombies!

Wendy Knuth, Author of Moore Zombies Picture Books & Chapter Books

Spooky Time – A Fun Halloween Game!

Tonight I reminisce.  I would like to tell you about the fun & scary game that somehow just came to be.  It became a favorite Halloween tradition for our family.  Spooky Time.

When my children were very young, I liked to set the mood for whatever holiday was present.  I just happened to be shopping for Christmas items at a craft store when I noticed a 90% off deal for Halloween items.  Lucky me. I bought numerous, numerous candle holders at 10 cents apiece.  Skulls, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, etc.

So come next Halloween, I put them on display.  I also wanted to play some Halloween music, and all I could find was CD’s with songs such as The Purple People Eater.  I used to light the candles in the spooky looking candle holders, as well as in the jack-o-lanterns we had carved.  I would play the fun music and the kids would run around.

We turned out the lights so we could see how spooky the carved pumpkins and ghosts looked.  Then we decided to play hide-n-seek.  There were numerous candles everywhere so that every room was very well lit.  We even left some of the lights on, but dimmed them.  My boys were so cute.  They would go to their bedroom for one minute to give us time to hide.  Then, they would come out with big eyes, fake swords and plastic armor.

As the kids grew, I had to find scarier music.  So I went online and found some great clips that I downloaded and put on CD’s:  Werewolf howls, theme music from The Exorcist, theme music from the Halloween movies, music with people screaming on occasion, maniacal clown house music, the dreaded string sounds that you usually hear when someone is being attacked in a movie, etc.

The years continued to pass and we had to have less and less light as hiders were more easily found.  By this time, the REALLY scary music was blasting, and the neighbor children came over for this great, fun, scary, Spooky Time.  Sometimes the kids would hide with adults being the seekers, other times vice-versa.  We discovered throwing items at or near a seeker could throw them off, and there was a lot of moving around so that hiders could go to a place where the seeker had already checked, leaving the seeker to believe no one was hiding there.  One thing was very apparent – the jump scare never gets old!

Fast forward a couple of years.  The lights were almost none existent.  The music still blared on.  So, yes, injuries started to occur.  Hiders and seekers would run into each other.  One night, I heard “Wendy, I’m bleeding!”  We turned on the lights and our neighbor had a split in the center of his forehead.  How very Halloween to have blood dripping down all over his face and onto the carpet.  I thought he had crawled into an outside wall corner but it turns out he had just run straight into the flat surface of the wall.  Head wounds bleed, um, a lot.

Boys and men are so funny.  As my husband and I were working on the boy’s wound, my husband told him that someday women would be impressed with his scar, but that he needed a better story.  Apparently, running into a wall doesn’t excite the ladies.  All of the boys got to work.  I was amazed by all of their fantastic stories as to how our neighbor had now suffered this injury.  Great imaginations!

Being the only female present, I found it very interesting that there was no screaming or crying, but almost a proudness, a rite of passage if you will.  I’m sure if some young girl had split her head open things would have been quite different.

I don’t think that was the last year of Spooky Time.   I believe the next year the kids wore their karate gear, including headgear.  We may have even gone one more year.  But it was pretty much the end of an era.  And that is why I reminisce.  It was a lot of fun.  Go ahead and give it a try, just remember to leave some lights on.

Wendy Knuth, Author of Moore Zombies  MooreZombies.comGE DIGITAL CAMERA

Human Fly Swatters

How are you when you are speaking on the telephone?  Are you hyper focused?  Can you listen to a side conversation? The reason I mention this is for as long as I have been with my husband, the old bald guy, his phone habit continues to intrigue me.  He has made it quite clear not to speak to him while he is talking on the phone.  He is intently engaged.  He mutes the television before answering or dialing a number.  If he hears any human voices he will turn around and glare at you with two evil eyes.  He even makes a swatting motion at you as if his arm were a fly swatter.

In this day of multitasking, I really don’t understand this.  My husband and I have been together long before the hectic world of computers and gadgets overtook us.  You might find it hard to believe that we did not even own a computer when we were married.  “Online” was not a word that we knew, and while we may have seen car phones in the movies, it was still a few years before we had our fist cell phone.

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand.  My feelings about this phone situation were that perhaps this was an older person thing, or maybe even a man thing.  So I was very surprised one day at work when I was orienting a new employee.  I did not like his scheduling system.  I showed him mine and told him about others.  We walked over to another employee so that I could show him the system she used, which was probably better than mine.  She was on the phone.  I saw her scheduling paper and started to explain her system to my trainee.  She turned and glared at me and gave me that same swatting motion.

Okay, so it’s not a man thing.  I honestly do understand the flip side.  Sometimes conversations are very important and you need to tune everything else out.  However, I also know that important information can come in while one is on the telephone.  Perhaps someone reminds you to not forget to ask about this or that, especially with some large bureaucracy where you have been on hold for thirty minutes.

My question is this:  Why is the fly swatter maneuver reserved only for people on the telephone?  Let’s say you are at a party or some other get together, and a group of people are speaking.  Often, conversation breaks off into subgroups.  Do you swat at people for holding separate conversations right next to you while you are engaged in conversation with others?  Fellow movie goers often glare at others for talking during the film, but have you ever seen the fly swatter come into action?  If you or others are rudely interrupted, do you move your arm at them in a quick, downward motion?

I hope many of you get a good chuckle out of this.  Maybe this reminds you of a friend or family member, or even yourself.  Can you accept verbal input while you are on the phone, or are you a human fly swatter?

What Did You Do With Your Christmas Tree and Did It Involve The Fire Department?

So there we were.  Post Christmas and what to do with the Christmas Tree.  I have to tell you that when we first get the tree I am really good with watering it.  I am always amazed at how much water a Christmas tree can drink in the first few days, but as time goes by, it drinks less and less, until there is no loss in water in base at all.  The needles go from soft and pliable to bone dry and brittle.

My husband has numerous stories of burning a Christmas tree and convinces me that it goes quickly and that is an amazing sight.  For some reason, after numerous year of marriage, he decides we will burn the Christmas tree in the yard this year.  Yes, we have a big yard.  No, I have never seen a Christmas tree burn before.

So we happen to have this weird, old, wood burning stove thing with a vent in the top that has been outside since we bought our house.  My husband places the Christmas tree into the vent hole, so now the base of the tree is about four feet off the ground.  Please add 6 feet for the Christmas tree just to adjust your visual picture of this situation.

The old, bald guy takes a match to tree.  Oh my, wow, holy moly.  I watch as the fire catches quickly and burns up one side of the tree, crackling and popping as it goes.  Once the flame reached the top of tree, a HUGE fireball rolled off and went up, up, up, I swear maybe twenty to thirty feet.  Small cinders and ashes are raining down on our immediate neighbor’s home to the north, where the wind took it.  My husband had the forethought of having a hose ready and starts spraying the tree with water.  I’m thinking this is not good, this is dangerous, I’m sure that neighbor would not appreciate this.  Did I mention that we were new to the neighborhood?

So my hubby is putting out the fire, and doing a good job, except I’m still concerned about all the little cinders possibly igniting a fire in the aforesaid neighbor’s yard.  Hubby assures me he is looking around at the neighbor’s yard and making sure that nothing will happen, with hose in hand.  A little time passes, and he is sure all is well, so now it is time to continue with burning the other side of the tree.  Yes, one side of the tree actually did not burn and it is time to finish the job.

Next thing we know, we hear a siren.  I am sure it is for us.  I tell my husband I hope you know that siren is for us.  He blows me off like I am an idiot, a complete idiot.   It is a coincidence.  The neighbors to the west pop up in their upstairs window and yell to us – you scared the heck out of us, we saw the huge fireball and thought your house was on fire.  So then, of course, another siren is heard.  My husband starts to put two and two together while the neighbors do the same and yell with amusement at our expense “here comes the Fire Department!”  And even then, we hear a third siren.

My husband goes into defense mode and says “let’s go inside.  Turn off the lights!!!”  We see a fire engine going down the next street, slowly as if looking for something.  I explain to him that they are most definitely looking for us and we should come clean because every single neighbor will point to our house and then we look really bad.

So at this point there is a fire engine coming slowly down our street and hubby realizes he needs to fess up and goes out to greet them.  He tells them he lit the Christmas tree on fire.  Their first question is did we have a permit?  This question is actually a rouse, because where we live there is no such thing as an after dark fire permit.  (We learned this afterwards.)  My husband apologizes and asks if he is going to be the idiot in tomorrow’s newspaper.  They assure him that he will not, as long as he does not continue with the stupidity.  Now, we live in a small town, or at least it was at the time, so I am kind of surprised that a 3 engine response did not gain the press that it should have.

I have fond memories of the half burned Christmas tree that sat in our yard for months.  Our town now has a wonderful recycling program for Christmas trees which we take advantage of every year, perhaps brought on by pyromaniacs like us.  It was an interesting way to meet some of our new neighbors.  And I hate to say, I would like to see, some day,  what it would have looked like if the whole tree had gone up!!!

Enjoy Old Holiday Traditions and Start New Ones

My side of the family has a wonderful story we have passed on through the generations.  It began when my grandmother cooked a fine meal for Turkey day way back when.  She cooked an amazing meal, everyone sat down to eat, then everyone excused themselves from the table and left her to do the cleaning.  She was very upset and (as the story goes) exclaimed “I worked hard all day for this wonderful meal and no one even said boo”.  So of course, everyone showed their appreciation by saying “boo”.  From then on after every meal, everyone in the family would say “boo”.

Recently, just within the last 5 or so years, on my husband’s side of the family, we started a new tradition.  It was not planned. It just sort of happened.  I’m not even sure whose idea it was.  We were all about to sit down for a Thanksgiving dinner and it was decided we should all hold hands and each person would say what they are thankful for.  It can be serious or silly.  The idea may have even been from one of the young children.  It’s fun to see what everyone has to say, kind of like a penny for your thoughts.  To this day, we still practice this tradition.

I either read or heard somewhere that a person can only recall one of their great grandparents.  This rings true for me.  I think Holiday traditions are a great way of sharing family folklore.  It’s wonderful to watch children grow up and pass it on to their children.  And, you can always retell old stories.  What a beautiful gift for the family from the family.

So, what’s your holiday tradition?  If you don’t have one, start one!