The Bane of my Existence

One word sums it up: Lunches.

I know you guys feel it to, or at least those of you who send your kids off during the day and need to provide some way to hold back their starvation.

The constant dilemma: do I give them a nice, balanced, healthy, nutritious lunch that costs me a fortune and a great deal of effort that they’ll inevitably pick at and eat portions of and then send half of it home for me to grudgingly compost?  Or do I send their lunch full of processed, easy, prepackaged, reusable if they don’t eat it but they will probably get colon cancer and the teachers will silently judge you behind your back foods?

So then you try to think of things that walk the line, things that they’ll actually eat and aren’t hideous for them and maybe even have a few vitamins interlaced.  Fruit.  Kids usually love fruit right?!  But for some reason the grapes that my four year old devoured yesterday came home uneaten today.  And if you cut the apples they go brown and don’t get eaten but if you don’t cut them then the kids either take one bite out of it and waste the rest or they just roll around and bruise.  But they love strawberries!  So win!  Strawberries!  Oh wait, those strawberries that looked plump and red at the grocery store on Sunday now look like they have cellulite on Tuesday.  Okay, so strawberries on Monday and Tuesday, now I just have to figure out Weds-Fri.  Oh!  Oranges!  They’ll usually eat oranges right?  Oranges last on the counter for quite a while!  Okay, so they’re too impatient and lazy to peel them, even though I bought the easily peeled Mandarin oranges.  Okay, I’ll pre-peel them.  What’s that?  They don’t like them pre-peeled because they start to shrivel and dry out by lunch?  I mean, just because NOBODY can actually tell this is happening, doesn’t mean it’s not happening right?  Because to my children, it is.  Bananas?  Oh, well, bananas bruise.  Luckily my four year old will usually eat them.  My seven year old won’t though so what should I send with her?  hmmmm… okay, she’s getting carrot sticks.  And if that little princess doesn’t like them I’m just going to keep resending that same pack of carrots every day until she eats them.  I mean, people will either say I’m emotionally scarring her and causing a future fear of carrot sticks or they’ll praise me for being consistent and teaching them a life lesson about not being wasteful of food and being able to settle in life.  Or is that being able to roll with the punches?  And do I want them to settle in life?  I don’t even know anymore, I think my life lessons are all very confused at this point.  I’m pretty sure that I’m going to screw my kids up irrevocably by their lunches alone.  Can you imagine how much I’m messing them up with the other parts of their life?  WHAT ABOUT DINNER?  I’m sure I must be setting them up for some sort of disorder!

Oh god, the pressure.  I don’t think I can handle lunches anymore.  Why couldn’t I have sent them to a school with vending machines so I could just give them some coins and then they could make their own decisions and screw themselves up instead?!

Sigh, okay, pull yourself together.  It’s not that big of a deal.  You can do this.  Only 3 more days of lunches to go…

This is maybe a slightly exaggerated version of my weekly thought process but one thing remains consistent: I start the week with the motivation of super mom and I eventually run out of strawberries and this happens.

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*disclaimer, I would never send that lunch with my kid in real life.  I would have added a granola bar.  😉

Parenting is hard.

I was never one of those kids who couldn’t wait to have babies and snuggle them and pinch their little toes because the world would just be so much cuter and more fun.  I’m a realist.  I knew it would be something I would want eventually and that it would open up a big can of responsibility worms.  And for maybe the third time in my life, I was right.

It’s hard stuff!  I have pretty cool kids and still I worry that I’m going to do something to mess them up.  I’m going to give them cancer by not buying organic celery or they’ll have abandonment issues because I send them to daycare.  I second guess every decision it seems and it’s only getting worse as they get older and are starting to have long term memories about their childhood.

For instance, my girls share a room.  For a long time one of us would lie in the bottom bunk with them until my youngest fell asleep and then my oldest would crawl into her bed and read a little and fall asleep too.  I was fine with this.  Well, it started getting to a point where it would take a long long time for my youngest to fall asleep and my husband had had enough and was convinced we were setting her up for needy sleeping tendencies and it was making it so that we had virtually no time together.  For two months we worked on getting her to fall asleep with us not snuggled up beside her.  Some nights were great, some nights were not but we were consistent.  Isn’t that what they say?  Be consistent at all costs?  Well, that ran out and eventually we started sitting by the door to the room and then sitting on the end of the bed and now, well, I’m snuggled back up beside her while she falls asleep.  I know, people will say she’s only young once, enjoy it.  And I do.  Truly.  Sleeping kids are the stuff dreams are made of.  But then I’m back to worrying that I’m messing her up.

Then I started thinking about all of my friends and the things they do that they worry about and the fact that if I were them, I would tell them that they’re doing just fine.  So why am I so hard on myself then?  Well, I’m no psychologist but I finally decided on this.

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When it comes down to it, all of the parents out there who actually consider the implications of how they treat their children must be doing something right, because really, what else can you do?

The Outfit Fairy

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You know what I hate?  I mean, besides when Subway accidentally gets a rogue onion chunk mixed in with the lettuce of my sandwich and I bite into it and retch a bit.  Well, I hate mornings. I don’t even hate them just because I have to get up early to the sound of my local disk jockeys making jokes, I hate them because they’re so darn rushed.

First my alarm goes off, that is, if my four year old hasn’t come in and pounced on my bed already and dug her cold feet into my knee backs.  (what’s the right term for knee backs?  underknees?  kneepits?  meh, someone knows, but not me).  Then my husband and I argue over who has to get up and shower first and I win (which means I get to stay in bed while he showers) but I don’t REALLY win because my daughter wants breakfast and I have to go turn the espresso maker on so it can warm up.

Then suddenly… BOOM!  I’m making lunches because I didn’t bother making them the night before, I’m waking up my seven year old who’s suddenly turned into sleeping beauty (and conveniently, reading too late beauty at night), I’m trying to remember to get dressed myself and brush my teeth, I forget to make my own breakfast, I’m hassling the kids to hurry up and eat and get dressed and brush their teeth.  I’m making sure their school bags are packed with library books and permission slips and spare underwear.

So I discovered a while back one little thing that has shaved some time off of my morning.  Preparing clothes in advance.  I used to have to comb through laundry piles and drawers looking for clean socks for them to wear and it was so stressful!  Now on Sundays as I fold the laundry, I simply organize their clothes into piles.  Each pile has a top, a bottom, socks and underwear.  I then clamp them all together in one of those pants hangers, sort them by kid, and hang them all in the closet.  Then each morning the kids get to go into the closet and pick an outfit that the outfit fairy magically left there for them.

Now, I don’t pretend to be perfect so you can see that their clothes aren’t perfectly straight etc etc but they match(ish) and they’re clean(ish) so it’ll do for me.

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The Neverending Story

Okay so I never actually watched The NeverEnding story, like, the movie.  You know, the one with the big puffy cloud dog thing.  Scold me if you must for either not having watched it or not knowing what that dog cloud thing actually is.  To me the REAL neverending story is actually the one, the only… Housework.

I think all but the very luckiest (or unluckiest?) of us can agree that there are about a million things we’d rather do than chores.  However, in an effort to keep child services from knocking at my door and to also keep my husband from running away from my home waving his arms above his head screaming “I can’t take it anymooooorrrreeee!!!” I’ve had to come up with some ways to make housework… feasible.

As I’ve said before, I work during the week and have two young children.  My husband also works and unluckily for him he spends a lot of time at night hunkered down marking papers and planning lessons so unfortunately a lot of the daily drudgery falls on my shoulders.  Did I mention that he’s a total clean freak and I’m a scatter brained borderline ADD lazy craftaholic?  Well, guilty as charged.

So I recently made up what I call a Basic Chore Schedule.  This is basically the bare minimum that I need to get done in order to keep my house from smelling like pee and rotten vegetables.  Okay, maybe it still smells a little like pee but I’m going to blame that on the kids.

I’ve followed Flylady and studied a few different cleaning schedules and had a hard time finding something that really fit my schedule.  I’ve sort of stolen some ideas from everything and compiled them into what works for me.  I’m sure it will need a lot of fine tuning, especially as our lives are ever evolving but so far it works.

You’ll probably notice that my week nights are pretty bare.  Most posts I’ve read seem to want you to spread out your chores daily and honestly in theory that’s fab and maybe that works for a lot of people but I’m going to be honest here.  I’m a case study in good intentions.  I can stick all sorts of checklists to my fridge but when it comes down to it, I pick up the kids after work, maybe shuttle them to an activity, cook dinner and all I want to do is have a bath and tune everyone out.  So I’ve got it down to the “please do this at LEAST so that tomorrow the kitchen isn’t totally disgusting when you’re just trying to make your dang coffee in the morning as your four year old tries to convince you AGAIN that she should have pudding for breakfast”.  So week nights after dinner, I’m happy if I manage to tidy up a bit, put our shoes and coats away, clear the dishes and tidy the kitchen.

This leaves the weekend.  I tend to spend Saturday doing food type stuff and Sunday getting stuff ready for the week ahead, which means mostly laundry.  You’ll also see that one of my items is “hang outfits” which is better described in this post.  Not a hard concept but something I’ve found very handy!

So here’s my schedule, I think it’s pretty straight forward but feel free to adjust to suit you!  And yes, there are lots of other less common chores to be done like cleaning the garage etc etc but I’m really hoping if I ignore those things someone will take pity on me and do them for me.

Basic Chore Schedule

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Here I go again

I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong with me.  I mean, I can’t even say why it is I’m starting this blog other than the fact that my head is constantly bursting with things that I want to try or do or share and I feel like if I had a place to put them all, maybe I could get it all out of my system.  Or maybe I could inspire others to try things too.  Or they could inspire me.  Actually hopefully not that last one because I absolutely have no more time in my life to want to try more things.  But I still want to.  I need help.

You’re probably wondering who I am, or maybe you’re not, and that’s okay too.  But then it’s a bit confusing that you’re reading this… but I digress…

My name is Kristy.  Like most people I’m a lot of things.  I’m in my 30s, I won’t say where exactly but it’s *slightly* on the higher end.  I work full time doing accounting.  I have two little girls (4 & 7) and my hubby is a teacher.  I also love to create.  I know, I know, accounting and creating don’t exactly go together like play dough and cat hair but there it is.  Mild mannered number cruncher by day, wild quilter by night!

I actually don’t do much quilting anymore.  It’s so time consuming and the materials cost a fortune and once I had two extra quilts for my own bed and one for my oldest daughter (and well, the one I’m making for my younger daughter that’s been in a box for 2 years and I just pulled out last night and had to re-iron ALL over again… sigh) I figure that’s about as much extra bedding as any family needs.  What I actually do the most these days is make dolls.  Strange right?  I have a little home business called Honey Lime Designs.  I started out making baby toys and just evolved into dolls and I still love making them.  But alas, it’s a slow process when you work during the day and you feel compelled to spend time with your family at night.  This means I get most of my crafting done after the kids are in bed as the dishes call out to me from the kitchen and I put the TV on a little louder so I can’t hear them.

I’ve also been known to dabble in a few other hobbies.  Cross-stitching (which I used to be OBSESSED with but have not done much of since having kids and mostly since my husband said they were doing something awful to his walls) needle felting, pottery (not much, I’m taking a class right now and it’s amazingly addictive), knitting, crocheting, drawing, painting (neither of which I’ve  very good at), and I don’t have any of those adult colouring books but I can colour the heck out of a My Little Pony picture with some good ol’ Crayolas.

So you can pretty much expect this blog to be filled with little things that I come across that I think other people ought to like, that might be crafts, tutorials, food ideas, organizing, health and exercise (hahahahhaha…) or whatever is rumbling around in my head at any given time.

This isn’t my first kick at the can, I’ve started and neglected a few blogs in my time.  Hence the title… here she goes again.