Cute or Clown Vomit? You Decide.

In my defense, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I’ve been working on Christmas gifts (when Bean actually lets me), and I thought the funky colors of this yarn would make a great bag for my twelve year-old niece. Thought being the operative word there.

Yeah.

Just….yeah.

So, is it cute or Clown Vomit? You decide.

Hooray for Monday—Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom

I confess that, as a stay-at-home mom, Monday has turned into my favorite day of the week. See this picture of Bean? This is kind of what my house looks like after my husband and boys have been home all weekend. Unexplainably messy and more than a little gross.

Don’t get me wrong, I love having my guys home…I really do. However, after a couple of days of “fun,” our home is overtaken by clutter, sticky floors, and bathrooms that should be declared hazmat zones. I’ve tried keeping up with all the housework on the weekends, but it never works out. I swear I could scrub down my whole kitchen on Saturday morning, walk out for less than thirty seconds, and by the time I return, several dirty dishes will have mysteriously appeared on the counters. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you. Keeping my house reasonably clean on the weekends is an exercise in futility.

Come Monday, I gladly usher my peeps off to school and work, and go about the not so inconsiderable job of cleaning and disinfecting our house. Just relocating all the misplaced shoes, belts, dirty clothes, laundry, homework papers, Legos and batteries takes me nearly an hour. Then I have sheets to wash, floors to clean, dust bunnies to slay, and bathrooms to sanitize. It’s a lot of work, but because it’s Monday, I get to revel in the fact that the things I clean will actually stay clean longer than five minutes at a time.

As you can see, sanity is thin on the ground around here.

Losing at Germ Roulette

We didn’t even make it through the first two weeks of school, and both of the Heathens are already sick. Much to my dismay, they woke up yesterday with fever and a case of the sniffles. Oh joy. Even the fact that they looked and felt like death warmed over could not erase the glee in their eyes when Dad proclaimed them too sick to go to school.

You want to know a secret? I don’t think schools should be allowed to give “perfect attendance” awards. I know truancy is a problem, but I seriously doubt that the prospect of an attendance award will motivate truants to change their absentee ways. School awards should be about rewarding behavior that is within a child’s control, like grades, conduct or school service. Whether or not a kid gets sick is certainly not within his or her control. And, last time I checked, most schools even have sick policies that require parents to keep their kids home in cases of fever, vomiting, or other clearly contagious illnesses. This means that, even if a sick child had a burning urge to work toward said award, they still couldn’t tough it out in the classroom with their 103 degree fever.

What message is there in a perfect attendance award? “Hey, lucky duck, you scored in the germ lottery?” Better yet, what message are we sending to the kids who don’t get the award? “Sorry kiddo, but you came up short by contracting that swine flu…better luck next semester?” I can tell you from experience, when a kid in the Heathens’ class accepts a perfect attendance award at the honor assembly, all the other moms are muttering under their breath, “so that’s who keeps getting everyone sick!” They all know who the class Petri dishes are.

In the meantime, I’m happy to keep my germy little Heathens home until they are well…even if it means they’ll miss out on the most pointless award ever. I’ll just make up something even more pointless. Something that at least has a modicum of productivity behind it.

I think “Best Baseboard Duster” sounds pretty good to me.

Getting My $6 Worth

When it comes to time management and organization for my family, I’ve tried just about everything. Planners inevitably end up lost in the black hole that is my purse…if I ever remember to carry a purse in the first place. I’ve also tried computer programs, but the time and effort of booting up my laptop so dang often was just too much for me. Typing on my iPhone is torture, so handy apps weren’t helpful either, and don’t get me started on why kids don’t mix well with wipe-off boards. I finally realized that for me, any organizing plan that required too much time or effort on my part is doomed for failure.

But alas, I am also a sucker and an impulse buyer. When I saw this magnetic notepad at Target:

I tossed it in the shopping cart, thinking that it might be useful for the upcoming school year. It’s made by Mead, and apparently, it’s part of a new line of products called Organizher. Goony as it sounds, this has been the best $6 I’ve spent in ages. Obviously, the front has a weekly schedule with room for all the family members and their events, as well as the week’s meals. Little did I know then that the back looks like this:

So, here’s why it works for me. Our breakfast/dining room is command central our house. It’s where we eat meals, do homework and it’s basically the nexus of our home life. In this room, we have a corkboard on the wall, where I keep the Heathens’ homework lists and other important information. Since I bought this $6 notepad, we’ve developed a routine that takes less than five minutes a week, but has saved my sanity for the back-to-school rush. Here’s how it works:

On Sunday, I jot down everything that I know is going on that week, as well as the meals. I then tear off the sheet and stick it up on the corkboard. In the meantime, I pull down last week’s sheet, and use the back as a shopping list for this week’s meals.

Yes, this is so easy, it’s stupid. But, for someone that has struggled with just how much supposedly helpful organizational tools complicate my life, it’s nice to find something that is simple and flexible.

So, yeah, I’m bragging about my $6 notepad. But I’ve had a week with no missed assignments, meetings or annoying repeats of “what’s for dinner?”

It doesn’t take much to make me happy these days, but I’m ok with that.

 

**As always, all reviews on my blog are unsponsored. Mead doesn’t know me and I don’t know them. I just like passing along when I actually get some bang for my buck**

 

Bad Moon Rising

So far today:

  • A package of cheese slices literally jumped out of the refrigerator, hit me in the face, and splattered all over the kitchen floor.
  • My husband dripped his coffee all across my freshly mopped floor.
  • I ran into my excessively pointy footboard for the 567th time, thereby adding to the collection of oh-so-attractive bruises on my legs.
  • I got my electric bill in the mail…and then I cried.
  • Bean mocked my feeble attempts to get her to nap, and I swear her cooing sounds more like “IIIIIIII wanna rock and roll all niiiiiggght…and party every day!”
  • I realized that my kids left Kleenex in their pockets…about two seconds after I opened the dryer and was assaulted by laundry coated in shredded Kleenex particles.

And it’s not even 11:00 AM. I think I got some bad juju going on this morning.

Adventures in Homemade Baby Food

Oh yes…I am turning into that mom.

After surviving toddlerhood with two of the pickiest eaters to ever walk this earth, I am determined to do things differently with Bean. I don’t have any moral objections to jarred baby food per se, other than that it tastes like three day-old socks and smells about the same, too. If I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole, why was I so surprised that my boys wouldn’t either? Can we say “Giant Learning Curve?”

When G-Man was a baby, he hated most baby foods so much, he would rather go hungry in the evenings and hold out until morning for his oatmeal. I am embarrassed to admit that my kids’ diet in their first five years of life was a nutritional wasteland. We became so desperate, we convinced the boys that Kindergarten was the magic, mandatory milestone at which Mom was no longer allowed to make them separate meals. They were gullible, thank goodness.

When I kicked around the idea of homemade baby food for Bean, I knew it would be fresher and healthier for her, but I was more concerned that the process was going to be a bigger pain in the ass than it was worth. Misgivings aside, I’ve been holding out a sliver of hope that, by giving my girl food that tastes good from the start, we will avoid some of the toddler food wars later.

The only way to see if I was up to the homemade baby food challenge was just to dive right in. Last night, I steamed some sweet potatoes, then pureed them with a little bit of water  until the consistency was appropriate for toothless Bean:

Once the potato puree was just right, I portioned it out into individual servings, and froze them for later use:

When all was said and done, the process only took me about fifteen minutes, and I ended up with a week’s worth of food. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. In fact, once I finished, I stared around my kitchen in mild disbelief at how ridiculously easy it was. Want to know the best part? For the cost of one jar of commercial baby food, I cranked out about 12 servings of the homemade stuff; my budget, which is already on life-support, heartily approved.

So, yeah, homemade baby food is a fresher and healthier alternative to the jarred stuff. If my brain wasn’t already sleep-deprived and apathetic, I could probably go into a philosophical diatribe about how the jarred stuff only promotes our culture of convenience foods at the expense of our health. But, really? Making Bean’s food was a piece of cake, cheap, and if I play my cards right, may help her develop eating habits that don’t drive her father and I insane.

If you’re considering homemade baby food, I say go for it. The internet has plenty of resources and ideas, so go forth and Google chicka. If anything, it’s a handy excuse to treat your kid like a science project, which is always good, cheap entertainment if you ask me.

Oh Happy Day!

Yep, it’s every stay-at-home mom’s favorite day of the year!

Today was the Heathens’ first day of school, and it couldn’t have come soon enough. If you’re one of those moms who just loooove summer vacation, more power to you. I bet you don’t live in Louisiana, where it’s been hotter than Hades for months. Our parks and playgrounds sit deserted, because the equipment is so hot, it’s too dangerous for kids to play. Our pools are mostly empty, because the water temperature is warmer than most people’s bath water. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: boys + boredom= disaster.

I know I’m trading the relative freedom of summer for the demands of homework, school projects, and PTA meetings, but I’ll do so gladly if it means I’ll have kids who are active, engaged, and not picking fights with one another just to have something to do. The boys were good sports about their first day, though G-Man did ask me this morning, “Mom, how will you get everything done without us here to help?”

I’ll cope, sweetheart…somehow, I’ll cope.