In-house ‘chef’ makes mom look bad

Two weeks ago, we vacationed in the Outer Banks with three other families.

There were eight adults and 10 children. (Yes, parents were outnumbered by their children – but the number of bottles of alcohol outnumbered all of us, so we were good to go.)

In an effort to avoid eating out every day, each set of parents selected a night to cook a meal.

It was almost like eating at a five-star restaurant every night.

We had the typical “American fare” of hamburgers, hotdogs and brats the first official night there – on the grill, of course.

The second night was my family’s night to cook – we opted for Mexican cuisine since that is one type of food that despite not being of Mexican heritage, I can cook (because really, who can screw up browning meat – which my husband did – and tossing in a packet of Ortega taco seasoning …). Shredded lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and salsa/nacho chips. Hell, I even made cheesy rice on the stove top and refried beans in the microwave. Boom. Dinner served.

We also had an Italian pasta, chicken paprikash and pizza burgers on the other nights. The final night, each family opted to leave the rental in search of seafood, or anything else they were craving that we had yet to make in the house.

Dinners were served buffet-style in the nearly gourmet-kitchen. Some nights we used paper plates while other times, dinner plates were used and then tossed into the dishwasher that ran almost three times per day. (Remember, this was vacation … so even the Red Solo cups were dishwashed – we managed to use them even if the rims were a bit deformed after being heated.)

There was never a shortage of food.

All food was homemade – including the side dishes.

Even breakfasts – and that is where I am still fighting the battle on the home front.

One of the dad’s made it his mission to create outstanding, yummy, finger-licking-good breakfasts every single day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

French toast. Pancakes. Waffles. Eggs. Bacon. BLTS were even considered breakfast on vacation.

And ever since we made our return back to Ohio, all my kids want to eat are homemade breakfasts.

No one has time for that here.

That was VACATION I keep telling them.

Here, in Ohio, we have this awesome device called a microwave that cooks their frozen pancakes to perfection. Instead of a waffle maker, we toss in the frozen waffles and stand by until they pop out of the toaster.

Eggs, bacon and the like are considered “weekend breakfasts” in our house. During the week, cereal and PopTarts are my go-to items for my kids. Maybe toast if I feel like lugging out the toaster from storage.

However, just this past Sunday morning, I was feeling a bit adventurous and made French toast for the first time in my life for my oldest who was craving a bit of vacation.

I didn’t burn it and he ate every bite! I felt like a five-star mom cooking in a one-star kitchen.

Two days later, I bought a cast iron skillet. So, maybe a two-star kitchen now?

Melissa Linebrink is a reporter/bi-monthly columnist for “The Mommy Wars” printed in The Chronicle-Telegram. She has been featured as a blogger on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Conference site, She also writes, edits and manages her blog, She can be reached at




A ‘trip’ on ‘vacation’ — assho!es a-plenty


Sometimes, as adults, there is a need to escape the everyday norm. It could be a long-weekend spent together while the kiddos visit the grandparents. Or, it can be a vacation – away from it all.

A friend of ours phrased it well, even though you may disagree. He said, “A vacation is MINUS the kids, a TRIP is with the kids.”

Either way, we left Ohio and our beloved children for six days and flew to Cancun, Mexico.

Even the drive on the way to the airport was pure bliss. Thirty-minutes of adult conversation. We never heard “I’m bored” or “She’s touching me!” being screamed from the backseat every 10 seconds.

So, there we were … in Cancun, staying at an all-inclusive resort. Adult beverages, nightlife and the most scrumptious meals on the planet Earth were at our fingertips.

Until we realized we weren’t there alone … and I’m not talking about the other ADULTS staying at the resort.

No, I am referring to the spring-breakers. College-aged students living the dream for a week in Cancun, without parents, roommates, professors or classes.

Minus manners too if you asked us.

By the final day, I wanted to wear a hand-made sign declaring, “PICK UP YOUR OWN SHIT” … My friend added: “YOUR MOMMA AIN’T HERE!”

It was classic.

Empty beer and margarita cups littered the tables situated within the pool. We removed them. It wasn’t our job, but it was gross and bothered us. Our husbands told us time and time again, “You can take ladies out of the USA, but you can’t take the moms out of them.” Or something like that.

Inside the sports bar, assholes left half-eaten cheeseburgers, nachos and hotdogs on paper plates when a trashcan was less than 20 feet away.

Where in the world did they leave their manners? Are they like this at home? Are they like this in their college dormitories or apartments?

Those were our thoughts as we walked from table to table removing the assholes’ shit they left behind.

Our vacation continued by watching the near-three fights break out amongst various nationalities, except no one from the United States was acting like an asshole. It was everyone else, shouting out phrases no one understood. My guess, they were calling everyone else assholes for different reasons.

I loved watching people call the hotel manager after someone took their poolside chairs. Now would be an ideal time to note this asshole was like 60 years old complaining. The manager told him, “You can’t save chairs.” He didn’t like that answer. The group he was arguing with kept blowing him kisses – that just pissed him off even more. It was hilarious. It was like the time my brother got in trouble for something I did and I reacted the same way, telling him to “kiss it.”

Add, “Watching Groups of People Argue Over Which Country is THE BEST” is a must on everyone’s “Bucket List.” Clearly the country that did NOT get BANNED from the alcohol at the all-inclusive resort were “better.” But not by much by our standards.

And, let’s not forget the group of 15 guys fighting with five other guys and three girls over the style of music being played over a loudspeaker. Our friends nailed the reason for the fight – the five guys were close to “Closing the deal with the three girls and taking them up to bed after talking to them for five hours when the other guys came over with their bad music.” BUZZ KILL … or … well, some kind of kill.

Upon leaving the resort, I assumed our journey back to the USA would go smooth. What else could go wrong? Oh, you know, our bus driver could run 15 minutes late and then make up time by driving in the middle of the road, cutting every other vehicle off – including bicyclists and motorcyclists. By this time, hands were being laid upon a Bible brought from Ohio. Our lives flashed before our eyes.

After coming to what felt like a screeching halt in the airport parking lot, we staggered out of the bus as if we had just topped of a bottle of tequila. I kinda wish I had because it would have made the next scene “that much more hilarious.”

Again, a group of four ladies were standing in the customs line, while the rest of us were waiting to be X-rayed, poked and prodded when they picked THAT time to … you guessed it, take A SELFIE.

The man behind the ladies spoke up, told them they were basically assholes and to move along because they were holding the line up.

Long story short, Mexican security showed up, but they weren’t as intimidating as I imagined them to be at the border. They just laughed and shook their heads while moving the ladies through security. They wanted those selfie-bitches OUT of Cancun.

Good news … after we made it past customs, we all headed toward the duty-free shop and bought tequila and/or Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. That made THE VACATION all worth … THE TRIP (WITH COLLEGE-AGED KIDS).



About the author:

Melissa Linebrink is a reporter/bi-monthly columnist for “The Mommy Wars” printed in The Chronicle-Telegram. She has been featured as a blogger on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Conference site, and Great Moments in Parenting. She also writes, edits and manages her blog, She can be reached at or follow her on Twitter @train_crazy.




Over the past few months, life in general has taken a toll on this 36-year-old Mom of Three Living in BFE. I won’t go into details, but saying my entire family is in need of a vacation is an understatement.

Therefore, I am taking the advice of Zac Brown, of the Zac Brown Band, and dipping my “toes in the water” and plopping my white ass in the sand on the Gulf of Mexico via Sanibel Island, Florida. 

Yes, in a few weeks I will be sitting on a white sandy beach overlooking blue waters — with a fruity drink in my hand and not a care in the world in my mind. I am half tempted to leave my cell phone at home, but since I use it for photographs, it will join me on my vacation. 

It was a hard winter, so knowing it will be hotter than hell in Florida in a few weeks doesn’t seem to bother me now. I only plan on packing four swimsuits and a couple of sundresses. And sunscreen —  lots and lots of sunscreen. 

I am looking forward to forgetting about my life in Ohio for eight days. In fact, I am aiming to go off the grid all together. 

Instead of worrying about cooking meals; keeping my children entertained; working; and maintaining the house so it doesn’t fall down, I will be swimming with Flipper and his pals; visiting with my brother and his fiance; and reading, plus playing family cards at night. Even the 5-year-old twins understand three-card poker, so we are good to go for family-fun with just a deck of cards. 

Life it too short to worry about every little detail. It’s time to take a step back and enjoy life and those who bring joy to us every day. After all, we have all learned that life goes by in a blink of an eye and one day, it may be your last.