So much company - and so many kids with ear infections, coughs, colds, sinus infections and the worst - in my opinion - pink eye. I hate pink eye. But by the time you have pink eye from a cold, you're also likely feeling much better. Just not better enough to go to school - which can only mean one thing.
Mommy! I'm Boooorrrred!
So the other day, because we are on a huge Cupcake Wars kick in this house, the girls played Cookie Wars. With playdough. And some beads. And my kitchen cabinets as the ovens and fridges (you know, to cool the cookies down).
And you know what I did? And I mean besides desperately begging children to take their pink medicine and let me put eye drops in the eyes - I sharpened all the pencils in the house. And it made me irrationally happy.
Sounds like I've lost my mind, right?
I haven't. At least I don't think I have.
My kids use pencils every night to do homework; we have what may very well qualify as the mother-load of pencils here and since it's about halfway through the school year it makes sense that not too many pencils had points left on them. They needed to be sharpened. I knew they needed to be sharpened, I thought about sharpening them every day, twice a day. Once when I pass by the bucket of pencils on my out the door in the morning and once more when it's time for homework and we are reduced to using crayons and then also using a crayon to write notes to the teachers apologizing (again) for using crayons to do homework. Oy.
Last week, my awesome sister-in-law was visiting with her kids - and because she is awesome, she began the organizing of my kitchen cabinets that should have been done when we moved in, but was not. We moved in three minutes before Josh started his new job and so in those three minutes, we unpacked as many boxes as we could and shoved as many things into closets and cabinets as we could, and yeah, that's how we've been living for the past six months because I can't seem to catch my breath here.
But then Sara showed up and all of a sudden, I was able to see what I had in my pantry and I must share - I have a lot of almond milk. And tons of Veggie Straws.
I have a lot of cabinets - that's not a complaint, just a happy fact. And Sara was not able to get to all of them while she was here, but I was so inspired by her work that while the girls played Cookie Wars, I tackled the last four un-organized cabinets. And you know what I found? A sharpener.
In the middle of organizing those cabinets, I stopped and sharpened. And sharpened and sharpened. And emptied the sharpener and sharpened some more. My kids were thrilled when they sat down to do homework and I felt accomplished.
You know what's weird too? I felt more accomplished about the pencils than about the cabinets and I think it's cause sometimes (most times?) it's the small tasks on a to-do list that throw up a wall in front of us. And when I say us, I mean me.
The cabinets were a big deal and finally making time to do them felt good. But I didn't think about the cabinets every day. The cabinets were more like something in the back of my mind that I thought would happen whenever. The pencils, though, they're big. They took up precious space in my brain on a daily basis, multiple times a day and I didn't like that.
I think a lot of things are like that in life - small things that take up an inordinate amount of space in my mind. And I feel like makes me super unproductive, so even though it's a little late for new year's resolutions and also I kind if don't believe in resolutions, I'm making one - but I'm not calling it a resolution, just a new way of being.
My new way of being now is to (try) do the small things when they occur to me instead of carrying them around for weeks or months. I could have very easily picked up a sharpener on my frequent trips to target but I didn't.
Now that I'm thinking about it, I think I just never remembered to buy the sharpener. I feel like I need to write things down more.
Okay, so that's it. This is the new non-resolution: I will write things down when they pop into my head.
Now I just need somewhere to write them.
Today marks three weeks since I began the Whole30 challenge.
It's been very hard, exhilirating and boring, all at the same time.
Hard because I love chocolate, I miss chocolate and I think about it fondly and often.
Exhilirating because I am finally doing something for me and about me, and while I have no idea if I am losing any weight because weighing in is a big no-no until the 30 days are up, I feel better, sleep better, think better and eat better.
And boring, because I'm bored, literally bored with what I am eating.
There is only so much poached salmon, grilled chicken and diced avocados a person can eat. So for dinner tonight, I invented my own recipe and and it worked (it's okay, I'm shocked too).
It's super simple and very yummy.
And the best part, you can use as much or as little of any of the ingredients as you like.
And even better than the best part, if you have some chicken that has already been cooked sitting around in the fridge (and if you're Whole30ing, you really should have some), then you won't have to actually cook anything here, just chop, mix and eat.
What should I call this?
I think we're going to go with Citrus-Chicken Salad.
Romaine lettuce (or your favorite salad green), chopped
grapefruit, peeled, sliced and cut up
a handful of raw cashews
Toss the first five ingredients in a bowl. Add a little olive oil and salt. Retoss. Eat.
It was quite good, if I may say so myself. And there was also quite a lot left over, so I guess my dinner for tomorrow night is already done. Hooray.
And I keep thinking, Day 21 already, what am I going to do on Day 31? How and what will I eat. I'm getting nervous.
And because I seem to be the master of bad transition sentences lately, I'm now going to say that Chanukah is making me nervous too. There is still so much that I have not done. (See how I did that, with the word nervous in both sentences? Clever. I know. )
For the past fews years, I've been thinking about making a Chanukah bingo game for our family Chanukah party, but it always seems like so much work. I can make that first bingo board, no problem. It's the shuffling around of the pictures to make the other boards that throws me. So I've never done it.
I'm sure then, that you can imagine my delight when I found these free (free!) printable Chanukah themed bingo boards on Crayola.com.
Just print and go.
And you can use chocolate Chanukah gelt as the pieces so even the players that don't win, win with all that chocolate. I think I'm going to be the bingo caller. I can't be trusted around all that chocolate. You know, the Whole30 and all. (See how I tied that all together like that at the end? I know.)
While Hurricane Sandy was quite scary, especially because in our area, the worst took place during the night - in the pitch black - the days of blackout that followed were, for us (because we are quite lucky and have an intact house and car) quite boring.
We didn't last longer than 36 hours without power in our house; we moved on to my parents' warm and brightly lit house full of televisions and snacks quite quickly. However, in the brief day and a half that we did stay home, we compiled a list of fun activities that need no electricity and are not board games - for some reason, those got pretty old pretty fast.
Here, some ideas of ways to keep the kids entertained during a blackout*:
1. Set your kids up in front of a mirror with a pad of drawing paper and a pencil and have them draw a self-portrait. This is a fun and funny activity because the kids will inevitably think that their drawing looks exactly like them and you will not be able to tell which kid drew which picture.
2. Hand out a few paper plates and some crayons and tell the kids to color the plates completely. Glue a craft stick or tongue depressor onto the plate, making a handle. Blow up some balloons and play 'keep the balloon in the air'.
3. Break out a bag of beads and some string and have the kids make necklaces and bracelets. If they make enough of them, they can give them out to the kids in their class when (if) school starts again. Or just use Fruit Loops and use them for a snack later on.
4. Play hangman. And tic tac toe. Print out some word searches (before the lights go out) and store them with your blackout kit.
5. Use the balloons and paper plate and sticks from #2 above to play volleyball. String a long piece of ribbon, rope or just plain string from wall to wall and presto, a volleyball net.
6. Play charades. My kids had never played this before. It went well, plus all the running to the bathroom because they were laughing so hard made the time pass more quickly.
7. The old classic: build a fort with couches, blankets, sheets and pillows in the living room. Add a few flashlights, books and snacks and you're good to go. Maybe you'll even get lucky and everyone will fall asleep in there.
8. Grab some vinegar, liquid food coloring and a box or two of baking soda. Pour the box of baking soda into a pan - maybe a disposable 9x13 pan, but anything will work. Pour vinegar into 2 or 3 cups (or more, depending on how many cups of colored vinegar you want to make) and add a drop or two of food coloring to each cup. Using mini-droppers (the kind that come with baby tylenol - I've been saving those for years), pick up some colored vinegar and drop it onto the baking soda. Watch as the baking soda fizzles. It's very cool to see and will keep the kids entertained for a nice long while. Personally, I would make four pans of baking soda to keep the elbowing of siblings to a minimum. Count the number of kids in your house to see how many you should make.
9. Take a puzzle that does not have too many pieces - between 12-15 sounds good to me - and hide the pieces around the house. The hiding places don't have to be that good, just a puzzle piece on a pillow or dresser. The kids won't be expecting them anyway. Hand our flashlights and set the kids loose looking for the puzzle pieces. When they're done, let them put the puzzle
together. Then hand out snacks. Finding the puzzle pieces is hard work.
and 10. Play What's on my Tush? I found this game online, here. It basically involved you, the parent, lying on the floor face down, with a pillow (fun already, right?) and the kids get to take turns putting whatever (a crayon, a toy car, a ball, the sadly not working remote) on your backside. The kids give out hints and you have to guess what's sitting on your
tush. This can go on for hours. It's awesome. If you do nothing else, definitely try this one.
See, you can handle this whole blackout thing like a parent who doesn't want to just crawl back into bed with a good book, a drink and a flashlight, even, if like me, that's exactly what you want to do.
*Some of the ideas need specific items which you may or may not have in the house. Since I know that you are already putting together some essentials for the next weather-related
incident, such as the Nor'easter coming this way tomorrow, a quick stop at AC Moore might not be a bad idea.
I did something and now I am thinking it might not have the best idea I have ever had, but here goes: I made an indoor hopscotch game. With Duck* tape. On the wood floors.
Anyway, the tape is now on the wood floors. I really really really hope it comes off.
Here's the thing, my kids love to play hopscotch, especially my middle two kids. And by the time school is over each day, the backyard is pretty chilly - and full of leaves that no one has bothered to rake yet.
So instead of going outside and being cold and slipping on leaves, we brought the game inside.
The how-to is almost a no-brainer. Just get some duct tape and a pair of scissors and you're in business. Notice how the boxes get bigger the farther up the hopscotch board you go. That was not intentional, it was more a function of not mapping out a plan first, so if things like asymmetrical boxes bother you, use a ruler first.
You'll also need a permanent marker to draw the numbers inside the boxes. My first thought had been to use the tape to make the numbers, but that turned out to be a lot of work so it was my trusty Sharpie to the rescue!
The only question is what will happens when I try to pull the tape up. Maybe nothing. Maybe the tape will just come off the wood floors flawlessly and all will be well.
Or maybe I should start googling "get duct tape residue off wood floors" now and file away the answers for sometime in the spring.
I'll have to let you know what I find.
What do you think? Will my wood floors ever be the same? Would you try this?
*I know it's actually called duct tape, but the brand name on this one is Duck tape.
We went for a pretty chilly little scavenger hunt the other day.
The mission? To find the colors of the rainbow, even though the sky was a very wintry gray.
Surprisingly, we found what we looking for. I am not sure I would have taken the time to notice all the colors of the rainbow had the kids not been with me on my walk.
And now, in a decidedly non-rainbow order of colors, here is what we found:
(Take a quick click on each picture to see it better.)
It took a few minutes, but I think I was finally able to explain to a bunch of four-year-old girls that if you kiss a frog, he'll turn into a prince, but not really and it's just all pretend because they all looked rather horrified.
Instead of playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey at our recent Princess Birthday Party, we played Pin the Kiss on the Frog, a cute little game floating around online.
At first, I felt like making this game might be more trouble than it was worth. In my head, I saw myself using a white piece of oaktag and either drawing a large frog and spending quite a while coloring it in green or using many pieces of cut up green construction paper and putting the whole thing together like a puzzle, and frankly, neither option appealed to me.
And then, walking around AC Moore, I realized that I could just buy a piece of green oaktag. So I did.
Draw a frog, cut out some shapes that kinda sorta look like lips and the game prep is done. Hooray.
The rules of the game, in case you cannot recall your childhood, are:
1. Tie a bandana around the first player's eyes.
2. Place a kiss (or tail) with a piece of tape into the player's hand.
3. Spin the player around three times and let them go, wandering around, trying to stick their piece to the frog (or donkey). The one who gets it closest to the target wins.
We did a little differently. The girls didn't want to wear a bandana so we let that go. And also, in our game, everyone was a winner - as soon as you taped your kiss to the frog, you got a Hershey kiss. My kind of game.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)