A Morning in Quotes

This morning was slightly more chaotic than usual. My husband, who usually makes the kids lunches and drives them to school, is out of town. So, it’s all me. Yeah, I know, moms do this every day. But you see, we have a system in our house and the system works! So, I’m proud to say I was proactive and made the kids their lunches last night. Oh, and before I fell asleep I saw a friend’s post of her daughter harvesting kale. Kale, I thought. We have kale. I can make a healthy breakfast for my kids. (Another Brilliant Mom Idea.) And with that, I give you the following one-sided conversation which is essentially a summary of the two and half waking hours I spent with my three kids this morning.

Good Morning!

It’s time to wake up!

Do you still want to work out with me?

Guys, this is mom’s time. If you’re just going to argue, go back to bed. (I work out every morning and they always want to “help” which typically means they sit on the couch under a blanket and watch me workout.)

Stop fighting over the blanket.

Put away your blanket.

Come on guys, let’s get dressed.

Seriously you guys, go get dressed.

Get off the couch.

It’s time to wake up! (See how we’ve circled back?)

Yes, its green stuff. It’s kale.

Kale won’t actually kill you.

Did you wash your hair?

Then why is your hair still dry?

No, you cannot wash your hair in the sink.

Yes, you have to wash your hair all the way to the front.

The shampoo doesn’t wash out by itself!

Stop hitting your brother.

Go to your room. You can come out when you behave yourself.

You can have the toy back when you can be kind to one another.

Where is your lunch?

Did you remember your lunch?

Is your lunch in your backpack?

Where is your coat?

Why don’t you have socks on?

I love you, have a great day!

No, you cannot bring your whoopee cushion to school.


The Mess Remains

My children have been gone for nearly two weeks. I’d like to say in that time I have cleaned their rooms, organized their toys and shelves and read a few good books, just for good measure. I have done none of those things.

When my kids go with their dad – typically a week at a time – I leave their rooms the way they left them. Despite my constant longing for fairies to come to my house and clean it while I am sleeping, they never do. When I wake up, the mess is still there. I want my kids to know, the same goes for them. I am not the magical midnight fairy that cleans up their messes while they are away. If they made a mess, it’s still there when they get back.

Having said that, I had looked at these two weeks on the calendar – a two-week vacation they are spending with their dad – and calculated all the things I could get done. My daughter’s room is chaotic, beyond the typical mess. It needs order. She needs a place for everything to go. And we definitely need to purge some of her things. (She keeps everything from a scrap of paper she once doodled on to projects she completed in 2nd grade. She’s going into 7th.) And yet, nada. I had hoped to redesign her room so she’d come back to something all new. Then life got in the way.

The past two weeks have been filled, instead, with gardening and lots of it, and work and a week of a clean eating challenge that took two hours a night to accomplish. Oh, and lets not forget about the wildfire that danced its way toward our rec cabin – causing us to spend two days rushing up there and retrieving as many valuables as we could. Life gets busy. Messes stay messy. And while I’m not exactly zen about it, I’m just going to let it go.

So, the mess remains. And that’s okay. Because what’s that they say about cleaning while raising children? It’s like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos.

And Now My Couch Smells Like Urine

Furniture and children – it’s a troublesome mix. There’s bouncing off furniture – using the sofa as a trampoline and forever damaging the springs. There’s hiding candy wrappers between the cushions or otherwise leaving behind remnants like popcorn kernels. And then there’s bodily fluids.

Having a child around furniture is kind of like carrying around a beaker of highly unstable and corrosive chemicals above your living room set. You never know what’s going to happen – but it will likely result in a mess.

When they’re babies – spit up and diaper blow outs threaten your couch.

When they’re toddlers – crayons and smooshy snacks are the culprits.

When they’re preschoolers – when someone comes home with a tummy bug, it’s typically the sofa that gets the first splash.

When they’re in grade school – who knows what can happen? Soda. Snot. Sticky. Sand. And… sometimes… urine.

Two takeaways from this:

1. Never buy expensive furniture until your kids are in college. (Even then, maybe wait a few years.)

2. Does anyone know how to get urine out of my couch?

Weighted Worries

My 9-year-old son complained a bully told him he is fat.

My 12-year-old daughter walked away from the scale saying she is chunky.

Both times – I found myself assuring them they are not fat. They are growing. Sometimes you fill out before you shoot upward. But, sometimes you fill out because you’re eating junk. And lots of it. And then what? How do you address that with your kids without hurting their feelings or body image?

We feed them a nutritious breakfast. We pack them a healthy lunch – a sandwich, fruit and veggies, yogurt and cheese. Family dinner typically consists of salmon or moose meat with steamed vegetables and a baked potato. Sure, we like ice cream as a treat and pizza typically hits the table a few times a month. But, during the day – my kids find their way to the underground snack food market. They come home with candy, drinking a soda or munching on a cupcake. Where do they get this stuff? They trade or use the change from their piggy banks to load up on goodies they know we’d never buy them.

They are growing children. I understand that. Heck, I have a second helping here and there and I’m all grown up. But how do you balance healthy eating at home with the garbage they get their hands on elsewhere? What do you do in your household to teach healthy eating in a way that makes your kids want to just say no to junk?


Impulse Buys and Healthy Dinners – An Unlikely Marriage

Typically, those impulse buys you make at the grocery store- you know, the ones you make when you shop when you’re hungry which is exactly what they tell you not to do – are not the healthiest of choices. Typically you end up tossing something in your cart that you definitely don’t need. Things like – oh, I don’t know, a three gallon container of Brownie Blitz ice cream or a bag of chips or a Snickers bar. That is the typical impulse purchase. Tonight was atypical.

Tonight, I made a few impulse buys. It started with a pineapple. They were on sale for ridiculously cheap. $1.50. That’s crazy. So, when my son asked if we could buy one – I went through the checklist in my head: Is it healthy? Check. Is it expensive? Nope. In the cart it went. But then, then, I saw the new fangled pineapple slicer.


I mean, you can’t spend all evening cutting a pineapple! You NEED a pineapple cutter to help you through the process you only embark on once, maybe twice, a year. $9.99? Sure, it’s only 6.66 times more expensive than the fruit. An evil ratio, I say! In the cart it went. (For the record, it actually works really well.)

Then, we continued our trek through the store – throwing in more items we didn’t need, including brocoli slaw. I had some kale at home (which I failed miserably over the weekend trying to turn into kale chips) and I thought it might make a yummy salad. We made it out of the store with only one really naughty impulse buy. Soft brownie cookies…

Anyway, we went home and I started to prepare dinner. Dinner that typically might consist of something unhealthy, from a typical impulse buy. Instead, I made a kale- brocoli  slaw Рpineapple salad. I used the pineapple juice as a dressing.


I’m going to take the nearly empty bowl as a compliment.

For our main course, we had tofu curry. Kids scarfed that down, too.


And, for dessert Рwatermelon.


Now – let me set you straight. You may be rolling your eyes over our very vegan dinner. I’m not a vegan. I love me some bacon. I’m not sure how supper ended up so healthy. But, it was yummy. Oh, and I am now (after the kids are in bed) enjoying that soft brownie cookie we discussed earlier. All is right with the world.

One more thing before I go. Just to leave you with a WTH moment, while garage saling with my husband this weekend, we discovered the oddest thing.


Yes, indeed, that is a real live alligator. In ALASKA! About two and a half feet long. It was just chillin. Oh, and did I mention I got to hold her? Thank goodness my kids weren’t there. When I told them about it later, they asked if I bought it. Um, no, she wasn’t for sale. And a good thing, too. I probably would have to account for yet another impulse buy. At least I wouldn’t be tempted to eat this one.

Home Alone?

home-aloneMy ten-year old daughter really wants to babysit. “Really, really, really bad.” But, she’s 10. The American Red Cross offers babysitter training classes, but they are aimed for kids 11-15. Her desire for freedom and independence – because you know that’s what this all boils down to – brought me to the question: At what age should you leave your child alone?

The folks at Web MD say you can leave a 10-year-old alone for an hour or so during the day, to test the waters. The article runs through a litany of questions you can answer to gauge if your child is truly ready to be left alone at home. It asks about alarm systems and crime rates, but then it hit one that might impact my daughter’s chances.

¬†“Has your tween shown signs of responsibility in the past? Examples include finishing homework on time without having to be asked and doing chores around the house.”

Busted. Her room is a mess. I could tell her until I’m blue in the face to put her clothes away. She will. That one time. Then, the next day, or sometimes even that same day, it’s right back to where we started.

The thing that gets me about all this is she doesn’t really need to be left home alone. Not at this point at least. But, this is important to her. She wants to show how she’s getting older and can take on responsibility, like watching her younger brothers. That Web MD article also suggests not leaving her to watch their siblings until she’s 12 or 13. I have friends who have left their kids home alone to do basic errands at a much younger age. So far, so good.

What do you think? At what age have you left your kids home alone? What about watching younger siblings? Oh, and more fun, when you have left kids alone – what kind of messes did you have to clean up on your return?

Rated R for Crude Humor

If you got past the title of this post, you’re ready for some crude content. Today, I give you one thought and two pictures.

Thought first – I never, ever, in my life, thought I’d have to sternly say the words, “Well, then, you shouldn’t have your penis out in the kitchen!” <—- Said to my two-year old who was wagging it at me. After my response, he cried. Hopefully, this incident does not land him on a psychologist’s couch one day, dwelling on the shame he now associates with his manhood.

Also today, ( I know I said only one thought, but come on! Give me a break…) I stayed home with my ten-year old daughter who wasn’t feeling well. I made her read a chapter in a book and write a summary of it. The experience may leave her magically feeling better tomorrow… (It was nice mommy-daughter time, you know, when I wasn’t working and she wasn’t begrudgingly reading a book.)

Okay – now for show and tell. I made dinner tonight. My seven-year old son thought this was pretty funny.

I find it’s a good way to teach the kids a recipe (stuffed peppers) while also sharing the hazards of binge drinking.

Later, while continuing to make supper, I hurriedly checked my first grader’s homework. His reading assignment caught me off guard, to say the least.

For the record, the book, “One Big Rock,” was a lovely read.

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