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Category Archives: Housewifely

Join This Imperfect Project

ParadiseThese two articles made me think. A lot.

Glennon Melton (on Huffington Post) // A Whole New — And Necessary — Way To See Your Messy House

Coffee & Crumbs // It’s Their Day Too

I thought about many things, but mostly about what I show to the world through my social media streams. I rarely share the hard moments. The messy and horrible moments. The “why am I doing this?” moments. The whoops moments. Partly because in those moments I rarely have the wherewithal to get out my camera and partly because I want to share, and look back on, positive moments.

Of course, we also know that my perfect Instagram pictures are making some person somewhere feel inadequate as she compares her backstage to my highlight reel. So I am proposing a challenge for myself and I’d love to have other people join me.

33 Imperfections

Starting on October 25th I will be posting a daily picture on my social media pages. The game is to post 33 pictures (or updates) – to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, wherever – that are are imperfect. Stains, spills, temper tantrums, bad hair, missed busses, projects gone horribly wrong… You understand what I mean.  Post it with the tag #imperfect33. Tell us why it is imperfect AND why it is also perfect (or at least not awful). Where is the good in the imperfect?

“Missed the bus and being late to work isn’t good, but now I get 30 minutes to wait and read on this fall day.”

“Spilled the birthday cake frosting… I’ll start over and make sure I follow the directions in order. The next batch will be even better.”

“Child just painted the floor. He’s making me mop!!”

“This is my messy kitchen. The fruit flies are thick. Let’s be glad I can’t post the smell from the compost bucket. But the baby is asleep on me. I’ll let it be messy and take this moment to read to my preschooler.”

“Look at this pile of laundry. It’s been almost a month since I’ve folded and put away. Family has been in town. I’m lucky that they came to visit me and we had a wonderful time!!”

Voltaire

How does something catastrophic turn out good? What blessing is hiding under the tears or the mess or the accident? How can we change how we look at things and what we are willing to show the world about our funky lives?

If we start on October 25th, it will take us right up to Thanksgiving. We will look at our imperfectly perfect lives and (borrowing a word from Glennon Melton) having those perspectacles on for the previous 33 days will really tell us how special and quirky and wonderful our worlds are, in all their imperfections.

Who wants to join me? Who can share their imperfect lives?

Re-Useable Snackbags – Tutorial and Giveaway!

 
 
I’m back! And I have been oh-so-busy with ever so many different things. And before we launch into all of that, let’s have a tutorial and a give away, shall we? 

 One of the project I recently finished was a set of re-useable snack bags. I get really frustrated with the amount of trash generated by my family. One of the components is ziploc baggies (also I have to remember to buy them at the store….and I never do…and then I don’t have snack baggies…). I looked around at lots of tutorials and came up with my own process. Here we go. 

These are super easy if you have a serger. If you don’t you can still do it, but it’s going to involve zig-zagging and turning and stuff. 

I made mine all different with scraps. What I did buy was rip-stop nylon to line the inside. This gives them a little water resistance (they aren’t at all waterproof, so don’t use them for soup or yogurt). Let’s make a guess. Get about a yard of nylon and a yard of cotton. I think. 

Okay. Let’s get going.

For each bag….

Out of both the cotton and the nylon, cut rectangles the width you want your bag, plus seam (let’s say 6 1/2″), and twice as long as you want your bag to be plus 2 inches (let’s say 8+8+2=18″). I eyeballed this on most of my bags, and I made a variety of sizes, so these measurements are just ideas. 

 
Serge the two rectangles together on one of the short sides of the rectangle – wrong sides together!
 
That serged edge is the front opening of your baggie. Line the fabric up and fold it in half, less those two inches we added. Like so. See how this already looks like a bag?
 
Starting at the bottom of the baggie, serge up both sides. Make sure you are catching the nylon in the seam. 
 
I can be a really picky seamstress, so my big challenge here was to just not worry about how exact my seams were and that everything was spot perfect. These aren’t works of art. They are lunch baggies. 
 
Finally, serge across the last side of your rectangle. This makes the top of your flap. Now you have a basic baggie and all you need is a closure. 
 
 

Finish the rest of your serging and make a whole set of these things. You will need a standard sewing machine next. All you need to do is add velcro to the openings. I used a zig-zag on the sticky side of the velcro because that was just easier.

Shazam!! A snack baggie! 

Like I said earlier, I made a whole bunch of these, in many sizes. I’m really looking forward to taking them on a test run when our family goes hiking this weekend. 
 
Another side benefit was using up some of my larger scraps – especially ones that have some kind of sentimental value. See that blue and white stripe one? That was from a maternity dress I made for myself more than 8 years ago, pregnant with my first baby. And now it’s a snack bag. Stuff like that makes me happy. 
But wait! There is more. I mentioned a giveaway, did I not? 
 
I made a lot of these. More than my family really needs. And I know that we are all out there doing our back-to-(home)school preparations. Many of those preparations will involve making lunches for people. 

 So I have a set of 4 snack baggies for one lucky winner! 

I’m doing this giveaway on my Facebook Page. It’s really easy. Click over to my page, like my page (if you don’t already), and leave a comment on the giveaway post telling me what you would like to use these bags for – hiking and trail mix, sack lunches and sandwiches…extra peanuts for a ball game? 

I’ll pick a random winner from the comments next Friday (August 15th). 

That’s it! Fun and easy, right? 

7 SAHM Self-Care Tips

I’ve been home with my kids, attachment parenting, for more than 8 years now. This is the work I have always been called to do and it fills me with more joy than words can describe. And a lot of the work sucks. It is draining and demanding and Sisyphean in all the worst ways. As I finish this draft, I know today will not be a self-care day for me. Our Toddler-Bug is sick – up all night with a fever and now sleeping in the Moby like a tiny baby. I anticipate a long day. And speaking of Sisyphus, it’s also laundry day.

That said, I have found several small things that I can do as a Stay-At-Home-Mom that add to my sanity. And they are almost all very small things. Because those articles that say things like “take a weekly night with the girls” or “get out for a long walk” make me frustrated. I can barely schedule a monthly date with my husband – kids and schedules and life being what it is. Long walks with three small kids are a nice idea and often horrid in reality. This job is too tricky for big additions. So these are small things. Things you can do in just a few minutes, for the most part. Because on many days, a few minutes is all we are going to get.

 

1) Small Goals for yourself. What do you want to do? Buy pink socks? (That’s one of my small goals right now.) Find little things and make a list and try to accomplish them. Nothing major like “join a gym and exercise three times a week”. Try things like “go antiquing once” or “prefect a chocolate-chip cookie recipe”. This year I am dressing up in something that is a challenge for me to wear – breaking out of my jeans and t-shirt reality once a week. I post some aspect of my outfit on Instagram. I have to get dressed anyway and I feel good every week when I meet this tiny goal. I am also attempting to cook all the recipes in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Like the dressing up, I have to cook anyway and this way I am doing something fun for me. Even if all it is is pink socks, you will feel better. Promise.

2) Make a Break Out Playlist. One little playlist that can make you cry, laugh, sing… whatever you need. Take the time to make it. Put it on all your music devices. Play it whenever you need to hear it. I recommend it have “These Are The Days” by Natalie Merchant on it. Unless you hate Natalie Merchant.

3) Learn for yourself. This is related to number one, or can be. Learn something for you because you want to. Use your brain for something besides laundry and meal-planning and searching Pinterest for ways to keep your kids entertained while the baby is sick. iTunes U has free college lectures on all kinds of subjects. LibriVox has all the great public domain classic literature as audible books. You can listen as you fold laundry. Or watch a documentary instead of sitcoms. Find a skill and learn how to do it. I just learned how to crochet and I am so inspired to play more with yarn and fiber. And so far the only major things I have crocheted have been for me…not for the kids! What skill do you want to learn? What subject fascinates you? I know you don’t have a lot of time for a new hobby, but trust me on this. Learn. Your brain will thank you.

I crocheted this hat. And the butterfly. And then I wore it for my dress-up challenge!

4) Open a window. We just can’t always get out for that long walk. And sometimes even getting outside is too much. But if it isn’t super-freezing outside, just open the window while you do dishes, or fold laundry, or watch that documentary. The fresh air will invigorate you. And the commitment is small.

5) Text a friend. Make an arrangement to have a texty-friend. Someone who is (probably) also a mom. Someone who you can text things like “How much do you think I would get for my kids on eBay?” and they will not take that wrong. Someone who can hear your frustration, and love you through it, and not judge your hard moments. Someone who will plot about your eBay sale with you and get you laughing. Have several of these friends. Be willing to reciprocate the love.

6) Avoid sweats. I know, it’s tempting to stay in our pajamas all day. They are comfortable. No one but the kids will see us anyway. Who cares? You do. You will feel better if you get dressed in “people clothes”, brush your hair, and get ready for your day. If you are going for comfy, get some yoga pants that do good things for you. Get t-shirts and sweat shirts that make you look good. By all means, wear comfortable clothing. But don’t give up looking like a person. Just buy things that are easy to wash.

7) 2.5 minutes in the evening. Or whenever it makes sense. When I am having a particularly hard day, I take 2.5 minutes before Papa-Bug comes home to brush my hair, put on a clean shirt, maybe switch up my earrings or wipe myself down with a baby wipe, and add a dab of perfume. When Papa-Bug comes in from work, I may still feel like a total wreck. But less than I did because I no longer look like a total wreck. I present a clean facade and that makes me feel a lot better about myself.

Earrings can make a big difference. 
This is my list. My little tricks that I have developed over the years. And I am far from perfect about self care. What do you do that is quick and easy and restores your sanity? Let’s expand the list!

Thank-Full

 

Thank you for reading, commenting, sharing, and supporting. I could no more stop writing than I could stop thinking, and I am gratefull that there are people like you out there who read my words.

Now the turkey needs to be trimmed and some potatoes peeled. I have much to do and even more to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Packing Kids Clothes

It's always fun to pack up for a camping trip or other adventure. Sister-Bug in particular loves to choose her outfits. But halfway through any trip of more than two nights, the kids clothes are helter-skelter and – especially if we are camping – already dirty. Papa-Bug has made hay of the suitcase looking for pajamas, I re-stacked that hay when I dug for clean shorts… And then we realize we used all the long sleeve t-shirts without realizing it.

Enter the trusty, much used, gallon ziplock bag.

One or two bags hold pajamas. One holds undies and socks. Usually I pack full outfits into the others – top, bottom (maybe pants and shorts). For littles I can fit two outfits in each bag.

Socks, underwear, and swimsuits are ready to go.

Depending on the trip and the kid, I can mix it up. Shirts in a bag, pants in a bag. Whatever works for the situation.

There are benefits to this system.

Those same socks and all, bagged and ready to go.
  • We can pull out a bag and have the open outfit on top, making it easy to change from shorts to pants. I can put the pajama bags on top of the suitcase before it gets dark so they are easy to grab.
  • The clothes stay clean and dry, even on the craziest camping trip. If the tent floods, their socks and pajamas aren't wet. This makes for happier kids. Damp clothes are awful.
  • The parent digging can see what is in each bag, without having to rifle through every item. Pull out a bag, put it back (or toss it to the side), the bag's internal organization maintains and things are always easier to find.
  • As the bags empty I save them for the next trip and also in case of disaster! A super muddy shirt or potty-accident pants can get popped in a ziplock bag and not spread their yuck to the rest of the clothes.
  • When we get home, it's easy to see what we didn't use. Also it is all still clean – untouched by the rest of the dirty laundry. It's a breeze to put it away.

Sister-Bug's clothes, about to jump in a suitcase.

I make sure to reuse the bags as many times as I can. I keep a handful of clean bags in each of the kids' suitcases so I don't use them up in the kitchen and have to buy new every time we travel. I thought about something more durable – fabric bags or similar – but I love the sealing, water-proof, see through nature of the ziplock.

One suitcase. Easy to see, easy to find. Now on to Baby-Bug's packing!

I might have over thought this whole system, but it really has saved me a world of time in the maintaining of clothes while we are adventuring – which makes my adventure much better. And it's simplified unpacking as well. I'm all about things that simplify the chore list.

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What tricks to you use to make traveling with kids easier?

 

What I Did This Weekend

Posted on

I was going to write a blog post, but I got busy outside making new flower beds and cleaning up the yard. I also used these supplies

*cheap hula hoop

*white outdoor lights (I could have used any, but I lucked out on the umbrella set for cheap at the grocery outlet)

and

*colorful duct tape

(plus some rainbow duct tape and blue ribbons)

 

To make this outdoor chandelier for our outdoor eating area.

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Let the long summer evenings and lack of bedtime begin!

 

Writing & Wiping

I look at homeschool daily task charts and envision skiing something like that for our days…but I'm not that organized. Every day around here is a little different and that's not going to change. So I started thinking about alternatives and the dry-erase idea kept coming up.

Dry erase boards are super helpful for…pretty much everyone. But they aren't always pretty, and after a while the white plastic coating just looks yucky even if you are diligent about wiping them down with alcohol frequently. They don't inspire.

For less than five bucks and ten minutes I made us a daily wipe-off board that is attractive. I can leave a note for Papa-Bug, we can make our list of school tasks for each day, and write down our goals and visions that we are working towards. We can tailor it each day to the nature of that day.

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I made it from a 10×14 frame from the thrift store and a couple pieces of scrapbook paper. The glass is wipeable and the whole thing can be dismantled, glass washed, paper changed up, and then put back together.

After we had used that for a couple of days I had an inspiration, so I grabbed another frame.

Brother-Bug has been working really hard on handwriting. Often we need to just work on the movement of a letter, repeating it over and over. Often he needs me to show him the letter as a reminder. We can go through a lot of paper.

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A white piece of paper, ruler, and colored markers and that up-cycled frame is our new wipeable hand writing board! The background here actually has three different line sizes to choose from (can you see them all?). As his hand writing refines I can make other lined backgrounds.

With this board we can do all the practice we need to do, especially working on the large movements – writing very big letters – before we try to get those movements small. We can repeat “m” over and over, then wipe it off and move of to “2”. He also likes to pull it out for independent writing practice; I love anything that inspires my kids to do their own learning.

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What size frame would you use? Would you do something specific like a writing board, or something more general? I'm thinking of making a kitchen board laid out for our weekly menu. How else could you customize a wipe-board?